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 Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
Ongoing monitoring of forest vegetation occurs at 6 plots spread throughout Wolf Trap's forest areas. 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.
NCRN I&M also monitors water quality every other month in Courthouse Creek and Wolf Trap Creek. Water is tested for levels of dissolved oxygen, pH, acid neutralizing capacity, salinity/specific conductance, total nitrate, total phosphorus, and temperature. NCRN I&M also measures stream width, depth, flow, and discharge. A set of continuous water loggers in Rock Creek below Dumbarton Oaks also measure conductivity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and water level. In 2008 and 2013, I&M monitored aquatic macroinvertebrates, fish, and stream physical habitat in streams throughout the park.