Research at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is not limited to paleontology. In fact, there are several ongoing park projects that aim to protect and maintain the natural, scenic, and cultural resources that are prevalent here at the National Monument. Visit to access thousands of digital records from the National Park Service, including John Day Fossil Beds.

If you are a researcher and are interested in conducting research in the monument, click on Visiting Researchers. Research permits apply to any sort of research proposed including paleontology, geology, natural resources, air, water, etc.


Mercury Monitoring Program

The National Park Service selected John Day Fossil Beds to participate in a nationwide mercury level documentation program. Mercury is a toxic pollutant that is dangerous to both humans and wildlife, and it can be found in even the most remote parks as a result of atmospheric deposition. On June 21st, 2014, samples of water and dragonfly larvae were collected from the John Day River. Dragonflies spend most of their lives in the water, and because they are relatively high in the food chain, their larvae is a good indication of the amount of mercury in a body of water. Furthermore, understanding the levels of mercury in dragonfly larvae is important because dragonflies are a main food source for some fish. Fish are then consumed by birds and mammals (including humans), so high mercury levels in dragonfly larvae could suggest a greater threat to an ecosystem. No data has been published yet from the John Day data set.

A microphone records the sounds of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.

NPS Photo

Soundscape Monitoring

Throughout the summer of 2014, the Natural Sound Division of the National Park Service monitored sound levels at each of the three units of the park. Their extremely sensitive devices recorded both natural noises (wildlife, wind, rain, etc.) and human caused sounds. Analyzing this data can help the park understand the impact that sound is making on the health of an ecosystem and on the visitor experience.

The soundscape of a park is considered a natural resource that can connect visitors to an area in the same way that stunning views can. Although John Day Fossil Beds N.M. is in a relatively remote part of Oregon, as a park we are excited to learn more about the impact of sound in order to avert unwanted noise pollution in the future. Read the report here.


Upper Columbia Basin Network Inventory and Monitoring Program

John Day Fossil Beds N.M. is located in the Upper Columbia Basin Network, who is monitoring sagebrush-steppe vegetation, water quality, riparian condition, and stream channel characteristics. Monitoring efforts are conducted on a three-year cycle.

The Upper Columbia Basin Network (UCBN) is one of 32 National Park Service Inventory & Monitoring (I&M) Networks across the country established to collect, analyze, and synthesize data and information about natural resource conditions in park units.

Last updated: May 17, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

Contact Us