Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Amistad National Recreation Area

Lake with Hwy 90 bridge in background and purple cenizo flowers blooming in foreground
Highway 90 bridge and park shoreline.

NPS Photo.

An oasis in the desert, Amistad National Recreation Area consists of the United States portion of the International Amistad Reservoir along the Rio Grande River in southwest Texas. Amistad, whose name comes from the Spanish word meaning friendship, is best known for excellent water-based recreation, camping, hiking, rock art viewing, and its rich cultural history. The area is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life above and below the water's surface.

Amistad National Recreation Area supports flora and fauna in a combination not found in any other National Park Service site. This biodiversity is a result of the park's location in a transition zone between major life and climate zones. It lies between three major plant communities: Tamaulipan Shrubland, Chihuahuan Desert, and Edwards Plateau; in the transition between temperate and tropic climatic zones; and in the transition from dry arid zones in the western half of the Unied States to the more humid and wet eastern half of the country.

Traditional NRCA: 2016

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes within Amistad National Recreation Area, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2016. This assessment was undertaken by the Amistad National Recreation Area staff and management, and other NPS monitoring representatives. This team chose 14 resource topics to be evaluated:

- Night sky

- Jagarundi cat

- Air quality

- Herpetofauna

- Geology

- Small native fish

- Surface water quality

- Invasive mussels

- Groundwater and springs

- Invasive plants

- Riparian habitat

- Mammals

- Upland vegetation

- Landbirds

Four resources were considered to be in good condition: geology, riparian habitat, landbirds, and exotic mussels. Groundwater and springs was in good to moderate condition, while night sky and air quality had a condition of moderate concern. Surface water quality had a condition of moderate to significant concern, and three other resources – upland vegetation, exotic plants, and small native fishes – were given a condition of significant concern. The remaining three resources – mammals, jaguarundi and herpetofauna – were not given a condition status due to lack of data. The condition reporting of these resources can be used by park managers for a variety of resource planning and other reporting purposes, such as expanded resource briefs for education and interpretation.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: December 16, 2022


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