Natural Resource Monitoring at Monocacy National Battlefield

A man kneels under a leaning cluster of young trees to apply a forestry paint.
Monitoring vegetation in a particularly dense stand of sycamore saplings. Photo: 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 Monocacy National Battlefield. The results of that monitoring provide park managers with scientific information for decision-making.

Monocacy National Battlefield is made up of 1,647 acres of rolling farmland, forest, and grasslands. Most park land is used for agriculture, with a small portion covered with mixed-oak deciduous forest.

The park’s main natural resource management concerns are surrounding land use, invasive plants and diseases, and overpopulation of deer. 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 Monocacy

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    NCRN Monitoring at Monocacy by the Numbers

    Site numbers as of 2022. These can change over time.
    What We Monitor Sites at Monocacy* Monitoring Frequency Information We Collect
    Amphibians 70 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 and grassland 15 (forest bird)

    69 (grassland bird)
    Forest plots are monitored twice a year

    Grassland plots are monitored three times a year
    • Forest bird species and abundance
    • Grassland bird species and abundance
    • Bird habitat quality
    Forest vegetation 15 (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 2 (stream site) on Bush Creek and Gambrill Mill Creek 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