Geoscientists-in-the-Parks: Invasive Species Management

Emily Roberts and G. William Harrison - Hot Springs National Park, 2016

Emily Roberts inventorying a vegetation plot
GIP Emily Roberts mapping invasive species at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. (NPS photo)

During their summer GIP internships, Emily Roberts and William Harrison worked on invasive species monitoring and control at Hot Springs National Park. The park decided that they would not use herbicides for invasive species eradication in order to protect the quality of the thermal and other park resources. Instead, William and Emily developed a less destructive method and piloted a program that used goats to eradicate invasive plant species They mapped and monitored the extent of known infestations and measured coverage in areas treated by different means (prescribed fire, mechanical removal, up-rooting, goats, etc.) to determine the most cost-effective means of eradication. In addition, the interns prepared and presented programs to the public about their pilot goat project, designed and produced educational materials for park visitors, and participated in the active management/removal of invasive plant species. Their project attracted the attention of local media and may influence park policy and invasive species management in the future. In addition to their main project, both interns contributed to other ongoing park projects such as assisting with hot springs water quality monitoring and acoustic bat monitoring.

Interns holding baby goats
William Harrison (left) and Emily Roberts (right) with the goats used for research and invasive species eradication. (NPS photo)

Learn About GIP Opportunities

For more than 20 years, the Geoscientists-in-the-Parks program has been placing talented college students and recent graduates in parks to gain on-the-ground work experience while completing important natural resource science projects for the National Park Service.

Last updated: December 22, 2016