Natural Resource Monitoring at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

A man sits near a stream to enter data into a tablet computer.
Downloading water data from continuous loggers.


The National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring Network monitors air quality, birds, forest pests, vegetation, invasive plants, stream water, and stream fish and macroinvertebrates at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. The results of that monitoring provide park managers with scientific information for decision-making.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts surrounds a premiere arts venue with a natural oasis of woodlands, streams, wetlands, a native meadow, and ‘no-mow zones’. Less than half of Wolf Trap's land is developed, leaving about 65 acres for a wide variety of plants, animals, birds, and wildflowers.

The park’s main natural resource management concerns are surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, 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 Wolf Trap

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    NCRN Monitoring at Wolf Trap by the Numbers

    *Site numbers as of 2022. These can change over time.
    What We Monitor Sites at Wolf Trap* Monitoring Frequency Information We Collect
    Birds – forest only 6 (forest bird) Forest plots are monitored twice a year

    Wetland sites are monitored twice per sampling period
    • Forest bird species and abundance
    • Bird habitat quality
    Forest vegetation 6 (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 Courthouse Creek and Wolf Trap Creek Stream sites are monitored every other month
    • Acid neutralizing capacity
    • Dissolved oxygen
    • pH
    • Salinity/specific conductance
    • Stream width, depth, flow, and discharge
    • Total nitrate and phosphorus
    • Water temperature

    Last updated: May 11, 2023