Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Fort Davis National Historic Site

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 man wearing a blue uniform sitting on a brown horse with buildings and a rocky hill in the background.
Cavalry Private Hank on a horse named Soldier.

NPS Photo

A key post in the defense system of western Texas, Fort Davis played a major role in the history of the Southwest. From 1854 until 1891, troops stationed at the post protected emigrants, freighters, mail coaches, and travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road hoping to reach the gold fields of California. Today, Fort Davis is considered one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest. It is a vivid reminder of the significant role played by the military in the settlement and development of the western frontier.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2014

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in Fort Davis National Historic Site, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2014. National Park Service staff examined the available data and current needs of the park, and chose ten resource topics to be evaluated:

- Viewshed

- Night sky

- Soundscape

- Air quality

- Geology

- Groundwater

- Dry wash and historic cottonwoods

- Upland vegetation and soils

- Exotic plants

- Breeding landbirds

Based on this assessment, the resources within Fort Davis National Historic Site are in good condition (viewshed, night sky, geology, upland vegetation and soils, and breeding landbirds) to warranting moderate concern (soundscape, air quality, groundwater, dry wash and historic cottonwoods, and exotic plants). The main resource issue is maintaining the historic landscape, viewshed, and sounds at the historic site. Natural barriers preserve most of the historic site’s viewshed, but adjacent private land to the northeast could impact the viewshed in the future if it is developed. This assessment will help guide management decisions at Fort Davis National Historic Site and ensure the needs of the natural resources and visitors will be met.

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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