NRCA 2021+

colorful cutthroat trout on a bed of sand
Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

NPS Photo

Overview


Natural Resource Condition Assements got revamped guidance during pilot studies in 2020. These new, streamlined condition assessments deliver a standardized approach to reassessing the conditions of a park’s natural resources. The streamlined aspect of this effort promotes assessment repeatability every five to 10-years, or as needed. This is accomplished through expert-guided reviews and synthesis of existing data, although new data may be gathered on a case by case basis. The short timeline (7-10 months) and report target length (<100 pages) warrant the selection of a subset of a park’s natural resources for condition evaluation.

Pilot studies underway in 2020 with Valles Caldera National Preserve, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
SCA Overview
Alt-Text for the diagram above:

There are three columns in the table above. The first column is labeled “Study Tasks” and has five cells with nine steps described.
The first cell in the “Tasks” column describes the first three steps: 1. Confirm a park’s information needs are a good fit for a SCA (basic resource condition check-in); 2. Select a subset of natural resources and/or drivers and stressors to emphasize in the SCA; 3. Identify best-available science for evaluating this subset of resources and condition influences.

The second cell in the “Tasks” column describes the next two steps: 4. Finalize study planning, set level of evaluation for each resource (full assessment vs. gap analysis); 5. Gather legacy documentation for the above, begin assembling the report using standard template.

The third cell in the “Tasks” column describes the next two steps: 6. Analyze and interpret the best available science, prepare draft findings using the report template; 7. Conduct peer and management reviews, revise draft report sections in preparation for publication.

The fourth cell in the “Tasks” column describes the next step: 8. Lead a multi-disciplinary discussion to consider management implications and suggest near-term activities.

The fifth cell in the “Tasks” column describes the last step: 9. Publish and distribute technical report and communication products.

The second column in the table is titled “Process” and shows a flow chart with one or two boxes in each of the five cells.

The first cell in the “Process” column has one box labeled “Resource Scoping” with a down arrow at the bottom.

The second cell in the “Process” column has one box labeled “Study Documentation” with a down arrow at the bottom.

The third cell in the “Process” column has two boxes side by side, one labeled “Assessment and Gap Analysis” and the other labeled “Peer and Management Review” with a double-sided arrow in between the two boxes.

The fourth cell in the “Process” column has one box labeled “Manager + Scientist Meeting” with a double-sided arrow at the top and a down arrow at the bottom.

The fifth cell in the “Process” column has one box labeled “Finalize Project.”


The third column in the table is titled “Reporting” and describes the standard organization of chapters 1 through 4 in an SCA, and the resulting deliverables produced from an SCA project.

Chapter I: introduce park setting and natural resources/environments, including geographic areas-of-interest for analysis and reporting.
Chapter II: characterize primary drivers and stressors.
Chapter III: provide gap analysis reporting for resources evaluated at that level.
Chapters III and IV: current condition reporting for the other resources: i.e., condition + trend for indicators; level-of-concern for resources.
Chapter IV: key park condition findings, near or longer-term implications for managing park resources, and useful next-step actions as identified in the manager + scientist meeting.

Deliverables: 1. Technical report and supporting files; 2. Communication products (e.g., resource briefs, story maps, checklists, etc.).

At the bottom of the “Products” column there are three figures of what products could look like. A picture of a cover page of a Natural Resource Report is on the left, labeled “Report;” a picture of a page with text is in the middle, labeled “Resource brief;” and a picture of a bird standing in vegetation with two text boxes is on the right, labeled “Story map.”

Last updated: June 25, 2020

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