To help protect park natural resources like forests, streams, and wildlife, a team of National Park Service ecologists with the National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring Network (NCRN I&M) is continually assessing conditions at C&O Canal National Historical Park.
Ongoing monitoring of forest vegetation occurs at 74 plots spread throughout the length of the park. At these plots, the trees, shrubs, vines, and specific non-woody plants are identified to group or species, and trees are measured and labeled. Any evidence of deer browse on trees or shrubs is noted. Diseases and pests are also noted along with targeted invasive plant species. Fallen and standing woody debris (that provides essential habitat to many types of wildlife) is also monitored.