Natural Resource Monitoring at George Washington Memorial Parkway

At waters edge in a marsh, a man reads a water level device.
Marsh elevation monitoring at Dyke Marsh National Wildlife Preserve.

NPS

The National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring Network monitors air quality, amphibians, birds, forest pests, vegetation, invasive plants, stream water, and stream fish and macroinvertebrates at George Washington Memorial Parkway. The results of that monitoring provide park managers with scientific information for decision-making.

George Washington Memorial Parkway is a scenic parkway that preserves the Potomac River Gorge and shoreline while serving as a memorial to the first President of the U.S. The Potomac Gorge featuring steep cliffs and rich eastern deciduous forests is a significant natural area home to many of rare species and natural communities.

The park’s main natural resource management concerns are invasive plants and diseases, overpopulation of deer, and encroaching urban development. Stormwater management is a big concern for stream ecosystems. Regional air quality and land use patterns can have strong effects on park resources.

What's Happening in George Washington Memorial Parkway

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    NCRN Monitoring at GWM Parkway by the Numbers

    *Site numbers as of 2022. These can change over time.
    What We Monitor Sites at GWM Parkway* Monitoring Frequency Information We Collect
    Amphibians 69 known wetland pools Annual sampling on a subset of known wetlands
    • Species occupancy and richness for salamanders, frogs, and toads in vernal pools
    Birds – forest only 20 (forest bird) Forest plots are monitored twice a year
    • Forest bird species and abundance
    • Bird habitat quality
    Forest vegetation 20 (forest vegetation) Approximately a quarter of plots each year on a four-year cycle
    • Deer browse
    • Fallen and standing woody debris
    • Targeted diseases and pests
    • Targeted invasive plant species
    • Trees, shrubs, vines, and specific non-woody plants
    Stream biota – fish and macroinvertebrates At streams listed below Periodic sampling 2007-2014, 2019-2023
    • Aquatic macroinvertebrates taxa and abundance
    • Fish species and abundance
    • Stream physical habitat including bank stability, stream shading, and distance from developed areas
    Stream water quality 4 (stream site) on Mine Run, Pimmit Run, Turkey Run, and Minnehaha Creek on Maryland side of Potomac River Stream sites are monitored every other month

    Wetland sites are monitored twice per sampling period
    • Acid neutralizing capacity
    • Dissolved oxygen
    • pH
    • Salinity/specific conductance
    • Stream width, depth, flow, and discharge
    • Total nitrate and phosphorus
    • Water temperature

    Last updated: May 23, 2022