National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Natural Resources

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Air Quality Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.Brief - Climate Change
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Ozone Annual 4th-Highest 8-Hour Concentration Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; medium confidence in the assessment. The estimated ozone level for 2005–2009 at Kennesaw Mountain NBP was 82.4 parts per billion (ppb), which warrants significant concern based on NPS Air Resource Division benchmarks. Kennesaw Mountain NBP falls within a county designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "nonattainment" (not meeting) for the ground-level ozone standard of an 8-hour average concentration of 75 ppb. A risk assessment concluded that plants in at Kennesaw Mountain NBP were at high risk for ozone damage (Kohut 2007; Kohut 2004). No trend information is available because there are not sufficient on-site or nearby ozone monitor data (NPS ARD 2013). List of ozone-sensitive plant species.
Deposition Sulfur Wet Deposition Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. For 2005–2009, estimated wet sulfur deposition was 4.9 kilograms per hectare per year (kg/ha/yr), which warrants significant concern based on NPS Air Resource Division benchmarks. For 2000–2009, the trend in total wet sulfur concentrations in rain and snow at Kennesaw Mountain NBP remained relatively unchanged (no statistically significant trend) (NPS ARD 2013).
Nitrogen Wet Deposition Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. For 2005–2009, estimated wet nitrogen deposition was 4.3 kilograms per hectare per year (kg/ha/yr), which warrants significant concern based on NPS Air Resource Division benchmarks. For 2000–2009, the trend in total wet nitrogen concentrations in rain and snow at Kennesaw Mountain NBP remained relatively unchanged (no statistically significant trend) (NPS ARD 2013).
Visibility Haze Index Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. For 2005–2009, estimated average visibility in Kennesaw Mountain NBP was 12.5 deciviews (dv) above natural conditions, which warrants significant concern based on NPS Air Resource Division benchmarks. For 2000–2009, the trend in visibility on the 20% clearest days improved and remained relatively unchanged on the 20% haziest days (no statistically significant trend). The Clean Air Act visibility goal requires visibility improvement on the 20% haziest days, with no degradation on the 20% clearest days (NPS ARD 2013).

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Geology and Soils Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment.Brief - Geologic Origins
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Terrestrial Soil Erodibility
  • Soil Class Type
  • Soil Erodibility Factor
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. Soils mostly Cecil clay and Cecil sandy loam, moderate to high in erodibility (K ≈0.26 and ≈0.36, respectively). High development associated with moderate to high erosion in watershed, including near park; roads and concentrated culvert flows act as catalysts for runoff-related erosion (Burkholder et al. 2013).
Riparian Soil Erodibility Channel Stability Index Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. Evidence of common, severe stream bank erosion (CSI likely > 20). (Burkholder et al. 2013).
Stream Sedimentation % bankside visual estimate of sediment cover Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. Evidence of common, high, and extremely rapid sedimentation: Sediment cover is 60–80% in many stream locations. (Burkholder et al. 2013).
Soil Acidity Soil pH Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; medium confidence in the assessment. Optimal soil pH for the Southeast is 5.8 to 7.5 but acid deposition in the area is high and of moderate concern.

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Water Quantity and Quality Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment.
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Groundwater Quantity Groundwater level Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. Groundwater levels have decreased significantly at the two wells near the park where the period of record exceeds 10 years (Rasmussen et al. 2009). Recent records indicate stable groundwater levels (Wright 2012). Data on groundwater levels are available from USGS. Brief - Groundwater Dynamics
Surface Water Dynamics
  • Daily mean discharge
  • Mean monthly flow
  • Magnitude and duration of extreme high and low flow events
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Magnitude and timing of flows are typical of streams draining urbanized areas (e.g., flashy flows after rain events and low base flows). No significant trends observed in the period of record beginning in 1999 based on analysis using Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (Jones and Gregory 2012). USGS publishes the latest stream gage data for Noses Creek at Powder Springs, GA. Brief - Surface Water Dynamics
Water Chemistry Temperature and pH Resource is in good condition; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. 100% of water temperature readings were within the GA minimum and maximum standards of 5 and 90 °F. 100% of pH readings were within GA minimum and maximum standards of 6.8 and 8.5 (Burkholder et al. 2013).
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Biological Oxygen Demand
Resource is in good condition; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. 96% of dissolved oxygen measurements were above the GA standards of average concentrations of > 5.0 mg/L and minimum concentrations of 4 mg/L. 99% of samples met the recommended concentrations of > 3 mg/L for Biological Oxygen Demand.
  • Nitrate + Nitrite
  • Total Phosphorus
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. 9% of Nitrate + Nitrite samples met EPA recommended concentration of < 177 µg/L. 53% of Total Phosphorous samples met EPA concentrations of < 30 µg/L.
Total suspended solids Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. Although 99% of samples were in compliance with EPA standards (≤ 25 mg/L), a condition rating of "Warrants Moderate Concern" was given due to consensus among subject matter experts is that the EPA standards are too high for the types of systems present coupled with evidence of continued high sedimentation rates.
Fecal coliform bacteria Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. 63% of samples were in compliance with GA standards for geometric means of < 200 (May–October), < 1,000 (November–April), or EPA standard for geometric means of < 400.
Aluminum concentration Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. 52% of samples met the EPA recommended levels of < 87 µg/L for aluminum.
Benthic Macroinvertebrates
  • Macroinvertebrate Index of Biological Integrity (M-IBI)
  • Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI)
  • Stream Health Rating (SHR)
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; medium confidence in the assessment. Data are not available from sites within the park, but up- and down-stream from park (2004–2005) in the two main streams. M-IBI scores ranged from 51–64. HBI = 4.2–5.7 resulted in a rating of "FAIR". Stream Health Rating is "B".

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Flora and Fauna Resource is in good condition; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; medium confidence in the assessment.
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Exotic Plants
  • Number of exotic/ invasive species
  • Number of "top ten" species present
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; high confidence in the assessment. Twelve invasive species identified by the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council as Category I occur in the park (i.e., species that invade intact systems, displace native vegetation, and alter ecological processes), including Chinese privet, kudzu, and honeysuckle. An additional invasive species of concern to park managers is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and the Park has been actively working on controlling the spread of this species. Active control measures are in place but long-term funding to manage continuous new invasions is tenuous.
Amphibians Species occurrence and diversity Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. The diversity of amphibians at KEMO is high, with 23 species of amphibians documented to occur in the Park (12 species of frogs or toads, 11 species of salamanders). Long-term monitoring has been initiated using nighttime auditory surveys (Byrne et al. 2011). Brief - Amphibians
Birds Species occurrence and diversity Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Bird species diversity is high at KEMO, with 208 species known to occur in the Park. Long-term monitoring has been initiated using distance sampling methods (Byrne et al. 2011). Brief - Birds
White-tailed Deer Abundance Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. The abundance of white-tailed deer in the park seems to be increasing, although there is no good estimate of deer density. Increases in deer densities in other national parks has led to a reduction in the regeneration of native forest tree species, and higher densities can lead to increased deer starvation and disease, and an increased rate of collisions with motor vehicles.

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Dark Night Sky and Natural Sounds Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment.Brief - Natural Sounds
The nighttime photic environment and the perception of it by humans (the lightscape) are important to many facets of park integrity. They are both a natural and a cultural resource and are critical aspects of scenery, visitor enjoyment, and wilderness character. Many wildlife species and ecological processes depend on natural darkness and a natural nighttime photic regime. KEMO has important cultural and natural resources, including a number of nocturnal wildlife species, and is considered to possess a higher sensitivity photic environment (Level 1). The reference condition is set at the natural condition, based on an accurate physical model of the night sky. Current conditions or desired future conditions should be expressed as a ratio over the reference condition. Learn more in the document Recommended Indicators of Night Sky Quality.
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Anthropogenic Light Anthropogenic Light Ratio (ALR) – the Average Anthropogenic Sky Glow: Average Natural Sky Luminance Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. The modeled Anthropogenic Light Ratio (ALR), a measure of light pollution calculated as the ratio of Average Anthropogenic Sky Glow to Average Natural Sky Luminance, was 19.67 which is considered of significant concern. The park is adjacent to the Atlanta metropolitan area with a population of 5.5 Million people and a 28% growth rate in the past decade.
Noise Pollution Ambient sound levels Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. 2011 study of sounds in neighboring Fulton County found sound levels suggestive of poor environmental quality. Heavy and increasing vehicular traffic through KEMO suggests similar effects.

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The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Assessment
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Adjacent Land Cover and Use Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment.Brief - Land Cover
Indicators of Condition Specific Measures Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Surrounding Land Cover and Use Forested & Wetland Land use coverage Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. Between 1992 and 2006, land uses classified as Deciduous, Mixed, and Evergreen Forest, combined with those classified as Woody or Emergent Herbaceous Wetlands, decreased from 67.6% to 42.4% of the watershed upstream of KEMO, and from 60% to 30% of the area surrounding the park (SECN I&M network, unpublished data).
Developed land use coverage (non-open space) Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. Between 1992 and 2006, land uses classified as Low/High Intensity Residential or Commercial/Industrial/ Transportation increased from 20.5% to 25.4% of the watershed upstream of KEMO, and from 26.6% to 38.5% of the area surrounding the park.
Human Population Density and Demographics Human Population Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. From 1992 and 2010, human population increased 70% in the watershed upstream of KEMO and 52% in the area surrounding the park.

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Last Updated: September 19, 2014 Contact Webmaster