Water, forest vegetation, birds, fish, air quality—these are some of the park "vital signs" chosen by park and partner scientists for us to monitor.
Vital signs are particular species, habitats, landscapes, and abiotic factors (e.g., water, air, soil) that help indicate the overall health or condition of park ecosystems. These key elements, and their associated processes, are part of what park managers are charged with conserving "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Knowing if and how key resources are changing can help park managers develop sound approaches for management, restoration, and mitigation.
Our Vital Signs
Park managers benefit from knowing the type and extent of various air pollutants in order to evaluate their impacts on park resources.
This diverse group of creatures occupies stream beds and is a vital component of all healthy stream ecosystems.
Many network parks have birds that are declining throughout their range, highlighting the need for understanding their status and trends.
The relatively pristine and high elevation streams found in Shenandoah currently support increasingly rare coldwater fish communities.
All Mid-Atlantic Network parks have forests that form an essential part of the landscape and provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife.
Water Quality & Quantity
Monitoring water quality & quantity helps the National Park Service fulfill its duty to protect pristine (or improve impaired) park waters.
Weather & Climate
Climate is a dominant factor driving the physical and ecologic processes affecting Mid-Atlantic Network parks.
Last updated: December 19, 2018