Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Bandelier National Monument

A double rainbow against the sky with the walls of Tyuonyi in the foreground.
Rainbow at Tyuonyi.

NPS Photo

Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country, as well as evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, cavate dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls throughout the landscape are a record of a culture that survives in the surrounding communities. Located in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, the Monument contains one of the largest concentrations of pre-Hispanic archeological sites in the American Southwest. Within the monument are more than 3,000 sites, most associated with the Ancestral Pueblo period and dating from AD 1100 to 1550.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2015

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in Bandelier National Monument, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and subsequently published in 2015. This assessment began in 2010, but was interrupted one year later by the Los Conchas Fire, which burned over 60% of the monument. The full impact of the Las Conchas Fire on ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests has not yet been assessed. Nor are the long-term effects or recovery times known for wildlife communities that depend on forested habitats, such as breeding bird communities. National Park Service Staff coordinated this project, and chose 23 resource topics to evaluate, which will help guide future goals and direction as the monument resource management focus transitions to preserving key ecological processes.

- Fire history and ecology

- Native fish

- Montane grasslands

- Landbirds

- Mixed conifer/aspen forest

- Mexican spotted owl

- Aspen trees

- Jemez mountain salamander

- Ponderosa pine forest and woodland

- Mountain lion

- Pinon juniper woodland

- American pika

- Rare plant species

- River otters

- Rio Grande corridor and associated riparian vegetation

- Lynx

- Rito de los Frijoles and Capulin Creek and associated riparian vegetation

- Bighorn sheep

- Water quality and aquatic macroinvertebrates

- Natural Sounds

- Air quality

Bandelier National Monument managers will strive to preserve key ecological processes, and continue to adaptively manage the resources within this important expanse. Because of historical human intervention prior to the park’s establishment, many keystone ecosystem processes and species are missing or declining. Maintaining the stability of core management principles will serve as a strong foundation from which to build successful resource management strategies as priorities shift with changing conditions.

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: August 15, 2022


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