What We Monitor

The Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network uses long-term ecological monitoring to track changes in selected park resources and processes, called "vital signs." Monitoring these key resources helps us to understand the overall health or condition of park natural resources. Knowing if and how key resources are changing can help park managers to develop effective approaches to management, restoration, and mitigation. Look below for more information on the Network's vital signs.

What Our Network Monitors

  • Benthic macroinvertebrate under a microscope
    Benthic Macroinvertebrates

    These aquatic animals are widely regarded as the best group of animals for monitoring the ecological 'health' of streams and rivers.

  • Purple flower growing in sand
    Rare Riparian Prairies

    Along large rivers, special habitats called "riparian prairies" support many rare plant species.

  • A still water pool along the Bluestone River.
    River Water Quality

    Water quality characteristics are critical to understanding, protecting, and improving the fundamental condition of aquatic ecosystems.

  • Ovenbird on a branch
    Streamside Birds

    Our scientists document information on a community of birds that are essential components of park ecosystems.

  • Technician standing in forest identifying plants.
    Vegetation and Soils

    Forests are important ecosystems in parks, providing beautiful landscapes for recreation, and habitat for countless plants and animals.

  • Two invasive vines on the forest floor
    Invasive Plants

    Parks monitor and manage invasive plants to protect important biodiversity and historic places.

Last updated: April 23, 2021