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Rocky Mountain National Park 2010 Biennial Research Conference

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Date: March 10, 2010
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Rocky Mountain National Park’s 2010 Biennial Research Conference will be held on March 30, and 31, in the Estes Park Town Board Room. The park hosts one of the largest research programs in the National Park System, with more than 100 research permits active each year. Park partners in research come from other federal agencies, the State of Colorado, and universities around the world. Last year, citizen scientists volunteered just over 7,000 hours to research projects. In addition, hundreds of students participate in field data collections and lab analysis. More than one-hundred scientists, social scientists, and historians are expected to attend this two-day meeting to discuss a variety of research projects.

Researchers will present for 20 minutes each. Talks are organized into sessions covering related subjects. Tuesday’s sessions will focus on Social Science, Forest Health, Water and Air. Morning sessions in social science will include melting glaciers and bison bones, human connections to Longs Peak, and the history of the Little Buckaroo Ranch barn in the Kawuneeche Valley. Morning forest health presentations will explore conserving the genetic diversity of limber pines, forest regeneration in beetle disturbed areas, the fungus among us and the implication of managing natural disturbances in Rocky Mountain National Park’s sister park, Tatra National Park. Tuesday afternoon will focus on water and air topics including nitrogen deposition and ozone health warnings. A highlight of this session will be results of the annual park wide water quality snapshot survey, dubbed the waterblitz.

Wednesday will include an all day session on wildlife research, including research on butterflies, bighorn sheep, pika, beaver, amphibians and elk. One project focuses on the family relationships among migrating broad-tailed hummingbirds. Another will feature the anatomy of elk bugling. Wednesday morning’s vegetation topics will cover the invasion and expansion of cheatgrass, restoring the Lulu City wetland, and vital sign monitoring of the park’s wetlands and alpine tundra.

In addition to presentations, twenty posters will be presented during lunch on Wednesday. A multi-disciplinary study of the park’s shuttle bus system along the Bear lake corridor will be presented on Wednesday afternoon. The study looked at noise levels, visitor impacts to vegetation and timing of the buses.

The conference is free and open to all interested members of the community. No registration is required. The conference begins on Tuesday, March 30, at 8:00 a.m. Sessions will end by 4:00 p.m. each day. A complete schedule is available at: www.nps.gov/romo/parkmgmt/research_conference.htm

The Town Board Room is in the Estes Park Municipal Building, 170 MacGregor Avenue. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park’s information office at (970) 586-1206.

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