2017–2018 Conservation Accomplishments
Under the leadership of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, the National Park Service is moving forward a number of significant conservation initiatives inspired by the Secretary’s goal of creating a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt.
Conserving Species and Their Habitats
- With Secretary Zinke’s support, North Cascades National Park is finalizing the planning process to evaluate the potential reintroduction of grizzly bears in the North Cascades Ecosystem.
- With support from the National Park Foundation, Pinnacles National Park continues to participate in efforts to restore the iconic California condor population, using technology and an organized volunteer effort to monitor the birds.
- At Isle Royal National Park, staff are working through the planning process to reintroduce wolves on the island, which will address the loss of this apex predator and improve ecosystem conditions.
- At Pea Ridge National Military Park and several other park sites, an agreement with Quail Forever to manage vegetation in the park is increasing quail habitat.
- Transferring bison from parks with excess populations, including Theodore Roosevelt, Wind Cave and Badlands national parks, to establish conservation herds in other areas is improving the genetics and health of the species.
- This year, the NPS will invest $3 million to address white-nose syndrome in parks. Projects are focused on outreach/education, research, and monitoring in bat species. The NPS is the catalyst for establishing the interagency Northwestern Bat Hub, which will increase collaboration on white-nose syndrome.
Restoring Landscapes and Ecosystems
- At Yosemite National Park, the multi-year effort to restore the Mariposa Grove will enhance the grove's dynamic ecology and increase its resilience, while improving visitors’ access to this extraordinary place. The park celebrates the grand reopening of Mariposa Grove on June 15, 2018.
- At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, planning to finalize a dam removal project will help to restore the Cuyahoga River to a healthy, free-flowing condition that will enable public access for fishing and recreation.
- In collaboration with conservation groups such as the Bobwhite Quail Conservancy, Manassas National Battlefield Park used prescribed fire for the first time in 2018, treating 45 acres of open field and scrub to restore historic battlefield viewsheds, protect adjacent communities, and enhance habitat for ground nesting birds such as bobwhite quail and woodcocks.
- Canaveral National Seashore is stabilizing eroding archaeological sites using living shoreline techniques, including a soft-armor living shoreline.
- At Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a proposed plan to manage off-road vehicle and all-terrain vehicle use will balance recreational opportunities with important efforts to protect natural and cultural resources in the park.
- The NPS is playing a key role in efforts to Safeguard the West from Invasive Species. In cooperation with state and federal partners, the NPS operates quagga and zebra mussel prevention and containment programs at nine western parks. Collectively, these programs contact more than 150,000 recreational watercraft per year and follow established protocols for watercraft inspection and decontamination. This fiscal year, the NPS will invest $3 million specifically to address quagga and zebra mussels in parks in the Midwest, Intermountain, and Pacific West regions.
- National Park of American Samoa is on its way to completely controlling the highly invasive tree species Tamaligi (Falcataria moluccana) from Tutuila Island. Tamaligi is targeted for eradication because its shade-tolerant seedlings can quickly overtake intact native rainforest. The park’s on-going efforts have removed more than 9,000 trees across more than 6,000 acres of infested areas. These actions are protecting coral reefs from sedimentation and restoring numerous watersheds, particularly Malaeimi Valley, which delivers potable water to 56 villages on Tutuila. This large-landscape-level effort has been leveraged substantially with partner and park resources to restore habitat for endemic species in close cooperation with traditional chief councils while also providing jobs and opportunities for hands-on learning experiences for local Samoan youth.
- Through Subaru’s Zero Landfill Initiative, Denali, Yosemite, and Grand Teton national parks are finding new ways to reduce waste from parks going to landfills by creating composting opportunities, improving recycling options, and replacing single-use products with reusable options.
- The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area recently completed an invasive species mitigation/native plants garden along the River Levee Trail that was funded with a $3,000 grant from RCB Blue Waters. The garden includes seating areas with views of the Savannah River and interpretive graphic panels to educate trail users about both invasive and native plants.
- The NPS Southeast Regional Office is working with partners at the U.S. Forest Service, Mayor's Office of the City of Atlanta, and The Conservation Fund to build the largest urban food forest in the country. This 7.1-acre park protects and preserves an old family farm property in South Atlanta, an underserved area of the city that struggles with food insecurity. Once completed, this project will provide the community with gathering spaces and urban agricultural resources, including community garden plots, fruit orchards, mushroom logs, and other edible plants to harvest.