Ongoing Ecological Monitoring

Ecologists from the National Capital Region Network (NCRN) gather information on plants, pests, water, birds, and amphibians in National Parks across Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia.

We look at the condition and changes in these natural resources over time, analyze the data, and share results with park managers. In this way, we help support park decision-making that conserves our natural treasures, unimpaired, for future generations.

NCRN parks are part of the immense Eastern Deciduous Forest ecosystem, and forests make up about 3/4 of park landcover. Most parks are also within the Potomac River watershed. The Potomac is the second-largest tributary of the Chesapeake Bay—America's largest estuary.

The NCRN is one of 32 I&M networks nationwide. All are working to provide park managers, researchers, and park visitors with reliable scientific information about key park resources. Learn more about Inventory & Monitoring in our parks.

Field crews conduct monitoring of natural resources.
What We're Learning and Why It Matters

Find out what we've learned about park ecosystems and how it's being used to help park managers prepare for the future.

The green waters of the Potomac crash through Great Falls rocks.
Our Parks

We monitor forests, water, and other natural features in Maryland, Virginia, DC, and West Virginia parks.

A woman and man look down to examine the forest floor.
Our Science

Our Natural resource monitoring programs is at the heart of the National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring Network's long-term work.

Yellow autumn leaves along a forest path
Eastern Deciduous Forest

Three-quarters of landcover in NCRN parks is Eastern Deciduous Forest.

Last updated: September 9, 2022