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STRATEGY FOR ENHANCED MONITORING OF NATURAL RESOURCE CONDITION IN NORTH ATLANTIC COASTAL PARKS TO ADDRESS THE EFFECTS OF RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE
Natural Resource Report NPS/NCBN/NRR—2010/272

Sara Stevens
Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network Program Manager
National Park Service
University of Rhode Island
Coastal Institute in Kingston, #105
1 Greenhouse Road
Kingston, RI 02881 Author 1

Brian Mitchell
Inventory and Monitoring Program Manager
Northeast Temperate Network
National Park Service
54 Elm Street
Woodstock, VT 05091

Marcia Brown
Foundations of Success
4109 Maryland Avenue
Bethesda MD 20816

Patrick Campbell
NPS National Capital Region
Center for Urban Ecology
4598 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007
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December 2010

U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Natural Resource Program Center
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Executive Summary

In response to the growing knowledge and awareness of the effects of climate change on federal lands, the National Park Service (NPS) has developed a national Climate Change Response Strategy (NPS 2010). The science goals described in the national strategy include developing and applying climate science, collaborating with scientific agencies and institutions, and identifying and conducting scientific studies and resource monitoring activities. The NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program (I&M) will play a major role in meeting these goals by providing sound scientific information and data to parks on the effects of climate change on park natural resources, as well as contribute towards a multi-agency collaboration (e.g. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers) to better understand these effects at both regional and national scales.

In (FY) 2010 several groups of I&M Networks were provided funding to review their existing monitoring programs in light of climate change and propose appropriate enhancements. One of these groups was the North Atlantic Coast, which includes three networks; the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN), the Northeast Temperate Network (NETN), and the National Capital Region Network (NCRN). These networks were directed to use the new funding to extend existing partnerships and expand collaboration with other federal agencies collecting similar monitoring data and information on natural resources. The NETN, NCBN and NCRN, with the input of federal partners and scientists from academic institutions, have developed this document to describe their process for identifying critical monitoring needs to meet these objectives while also enhancing each park’s understanding of the effects of climate change on specific coastal ecosystems. This includes existing monitoring needing enhancement, as well as new monitoring to better understand the effects that rapid climate change has on parks. This document describes the vital sign prioritization and selection process and the final vital signs chosen for monitoring. It includes options for enhanced monitoring based on anticipated project budgets (for all three networks combined) ranging from $200,000 to $400,000 annually.

The highest priorities were determined to be:
-- Expand existing interagency collaborative effort to monitor salt marsh capital along the Atlantic coast in 10 national parks in conjunction with 12 coastal United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sites, as well as National Estuarine Research Reserve sites (NOAA, NERR) along the North Atlantic. This effort will include standardized protocols, databases and data collection.
-- Expand analysis, synthesis and reporting of datasets produced by other agencies and organizations such as climate, tide, sea level, and remotely-sensed data to park managers and others to enhance our understanding of the effects of climate change.
--Expand the existing interagency effort to monitor breeding marsh birds in North Atlantic parks within Bird Conservation Area 30 (BCR 30) through the Northeast Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership.

These projects will continue collaborative efforts among the I&M Networks, USFWS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), state wildlife agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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