Park monitoring provides information about changes or trends in natural resources and is essential for managing parks "unimpaired for future generations." We track specific physical, chemical, and biological elements, or "vital signs," that represent the condition of park ecosystems or the effects of stressors to those ecosystems. This long-term monitoring involves following scientific protocols to take repeated measurements of natural resource vital signs over time.
The Vital Signs Monitoring Plan for the Chihuahuan Desert Network provides a detailed description of how we chose vital signs, and the strategy for implementing our monitoring program. Click on a vital sign below to learn more.
We monitor visibility and particulate matter, ozone, and atmospheric deposition.
We monitor temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration.
We monitor dune formation, stability, and morphology (dune shape).
We monitor long-term changes in groundwater levels.
Invasive Exotic Plants
We monitor for new invasive, exotic plants and changes in existing exotic plant populations.
We monitor bird species richness and community composition, as well as density and distribution of common birds.
River Channel Characteristics
We monitor the Rio Grande River channel area and shape and how these change over time.
Seeps, Springs, and Tinajas
We monitor seep, spring, and tinaja water quality and quantity, and riparian vegetation.
Terrestrial Vegetation and Soils
We monitor plant community composition, soil characteristics, and biological soil crusts.
Last updated: August 29, 2018