‘Vital Signs’ 2013 Report on Natural & Cultural Resources Posted Online

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Date: October 17, 2014
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

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A comprehensive report on the status of the natural and cultural resources of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway is now available for reference online. This report, titled Vital Signs 2013, is posted at https://www.nps.gov/grte/naturescience/vital-signs.htm.

To protect and manage the wide variety of natural and cultural resources held within both Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway, resource management staff monitor and study individual resources as well as ecological processes—essentially the vital signs—of the park and parkway. Information on the state of key resources helps guide decisions made for their long-term management. Although data collected on some resources may be too limited to predict significant trends, the information gathered provides a baseline for future assessment of resource conditions.

Resources summarized in the Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway's Vital Signs 2013 report are monitored because of their significance to—or influence on—the ecosystem. Report summaries are grouped into four categories, which include:

  • Climate and Environment with a focus on air quality, water quality, fire, glaciers, soundscape, and climate.
  • Natural Resources with an emphasis on plants and animals that are, or have been, listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (bald eagle, gray wolf, grizzly bear, peregrine falcon), as well as species that have experienced declines in the ecosystem, or are of special concern due to a lack of data (golden eagle, great blue heron, greater sage-grouse, moose, trumpeter swan, and whitebark pine). Natural resource summaries also include species that are considered vulnerable (bighorn sheep, Columbia sharp-tailed grouse, common loon, pronghorn), and species that significantly impact the ecosystem and management actions due to their population size and movement outside park boundaries (bison and elk). Other species included are important indicators of ecosystem health because they are especially sensitive to environmental pollutants, habitat alteration, and climate change (amphibians and osprey).
  • Cultural Resources with attention to archeological sites, historic structures, and museum collections that are significant representations of the human evidence on park lands. These resources are inventoried, protected, and monitored to ensure protection for future generations.
  • Challenges related to nonnative plants and animals, grazing, park visitation, plant restoration, and the human-bear interface that are generally caused or largely influenced by human activity.

"We are committed to educating the public about the natural and cultural resources of both Grand Teton and the Rockefeller Parkway, and so it's important that we share this Vital Signs 2013 report as a necessary step in that direction," said Superintendent David Vela. "We hope that anyone interested will take the time to review these findings and become better informed about our management activities related to the long-term conservation of these elemental resources."

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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