Natural Resources Monitoring at Fossil Butte National Monument

Pink sky over eroded landscape dusted with snow
Fossil Butte National Monument is situated in high, cold desert.

NPS

The Northern Colorado Plateau Network monitors climate, invasive exotic plants, land surface phenology, landbirds, and landscape dynamics at Fossil Butte National Monument. The results of that monitoring provide park managers with scientific information for decisionmaking.

Fossil Butte National Monument was created on October 23, 1972, to preserve "outstanding paleontological sites and related geological phenomena, and to provide for the display and interpretation of scientific specimens." The monument protects a unique fossilized assemblage of organisms that once lived in or around Fossil Lake, an ancient lake of Eocene age.

Elevation ranges from approximately 2,018 meters (6,620 feet) near the main entrance to 2,464 meters (8,084 feet) at the summit of the Bull Pen. The area is considered to be high, cold desert. Precipitation averages between 229 and 305 millimeters (9 and 12 inches) per year, most of it falling as snow. Winters can be extremely cold, with temperatures occasionally falling to -30°F or less. Daytime summer temperatures rarely exceed 90°F. Shrublands are the most diverse and widespread communities in the monument. Forest, woodland, wetland, and herbaceous plant communities are uncommon, and riparian woodlands are rare. An interrupted, intermittent stream, Chicken Creek, drains approximately 2/3 of monument lands.

Exotic plant species invasion and threats to rare plants and paleontological resources are the monument's main natural resource management concerns.

Publications and Other Information

Several protocols are monitored at the network scale. For reporting on climate, land surface phenology, and landbirds, please visit Monitoring Reports.

Park Briefs

Park briefs summarize completed and upcoming monitoring for a given year.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 520. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Monitoring Reports

Invasive Exotic Plants at Fossil Butte NM

Source: Data Store Saved Search 454 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Inventory Report and Brief

Vegetation Classification and Mapping at Fossil Butte NM

Source: Data Store Collection 4284 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Inventory Reports

Climate, Herpetofauna, Landbirds, Mammals, and Vascular Plants at Fossil Butte NM

Source: Data Store Collection 4285 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: June 1, 2018