NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program: Developing Long Term Ecological Monitoring in the Northeastern Coastal Parks
National Park Service
Delivered at 2003 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.
The National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring Program is charged with developing ecological monitoring on 270 park units with significant natural resources. To facilitate the development of this program, the NPS established 32 park networks with similar natural resources with the overall goal of developing monitoring programs that provide scientifically sound information on the current status and long term trends of park ecosystems. The Northeast Temperate Network includes 11 park units extending from Acadia National Park, Maine, to Morristown National Historic Park, New Jersey, and includes the Appalachian Trail. Boston Harbor Islands is one of the two coastal parks in the network: unique in their geology, land-use history, and administration. Knowing the condition of the natural resources in national parks and specifically, Boston Harbor Islands, is fundamental to managing park resources "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations". Land managers are confronted with increasingly complex and challenging issues that require a broad-based understanding of the status and trends of park resources as a basis for making decisions for the benefit of natural resources. The intent of the park ecological monitoring program is to track a subset of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes of park ecosystems that represent the overall health or condition of park resources, known or hypothesized effects of stressors, or elements that have important human values. The Boston Harbor Islands partners and managers are presently setting goals and objectives and identifying potential ecological indicators for long term monitoring.