Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

A desert scene with a large clay building covered by a metal awning.
Casa Grande Ruins, 2004.

NPS Photo

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument was initially set aside in 1891 in the city of Coolidge, Arizona to protect the large multistoried adobe Hohokam structure known as Casa Grande, and marked the first formal efforts of the federal government to protect the nation’s archeological heritage. The Sonoran Desert may sometimes seem like a hostile and unhospitable place, yet there are plenty of people, animals, and plants that call this area home. It may take a keen eye and a patient ear but you can generally find a thriving community wherever you search. Casa Grande Ruin’s National Monument has a unique opportunity to study climate and weather patterns in the Sonoran Desert given the fact that three weather monitoring stations are located in or within the vicinity of the monument. Most of the monument’s natural resources are affected by landscape-scale processes.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2019

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment for Casa Grande Ruins National Monument was published in 2019, and coordinated by the National Park Service staff, Utah State University, and the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit. The nine resource topics evaluated in this report are comprised of those deemed to have the greatest interest/concern by the park staff:

- Viewshed

- Night sky

- Soundscape

- Air quality

- Groundwater

- Upland vegetation and soils

- Soil crusts

- Birds

- Mammals

Two resources (upland vegetation and soils, and soil crusts) were in good condition; four resources (night sky, soundscape, air quality, and birds) had conditions of moderate concern; two resources (viewshed and groundwater) had conditions of significant concern; and the condition of mammals could not be determined. Present day Casa Grande Ruins National Monument occupies a 2.6 km2 (1 mi2) area of land that has captured the human interest for thaousands of years and will likely continue to do so for several thousand more. The reality is that the area surrounding Casa Grande, which once supported an abundance of wildlife, plants, and aquatic life, has undergone significant changes. It is the continued dedication of monument and Sonoran Desert Inventory and Monitoring staff, along with numerous partners and friends, who research questions that further explore the mystery and complexity of this national park and its previous inhabitants.

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: June 24, 2022


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