Water resources in Gulf Coast Network parks are essential elements to the park and the surrounding community. Water bodies range from unnamed tributaries to nationally significant waters that are the heart of the parks. Some provide no habitat for aquatic species, while some are home to threatened or endangered species, and all of them contribute to the scenery and viewscape at national parks.
Because the resources vary in each park, and the management goals for those water bodies also differ, each park in the network has a custom water-quality monitoring program. These monitoring plans are designed to protect those water resources in the best way possible while serving the the needs of park management.
Goals of the program include:
- Making sure the water resources are meeting designated use water-quality requirements
- Tracking long-term changes in aquatic communities
- Providing data to help determine pollution sources
- Determing how park activities are affecting water resources
- Monitor the effect of acid precipitation on water resources
For more information, see the Water Quality Monitoring Program for the Inland Parks of the Gulf Coast Network (Meiman 2006).