STRATEGY FOR ENHANCED MONITORING OF NATURAL RESOURCE CONDITION IN NORTH ATLANTIC COASTAL PARKS TO ADDRESS THE EFFECTS OF RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE
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: