Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Fort Necessity National Battlefield

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 wooden fort in the middle of a green field.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

NPS/Victoria Stauffenberg.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield was established on March 4, 1931 to commemorate the French and Indian War and is the only national park unit in America dedicated to the conflict. It was at Fort Necessity, built by George Washington and his troops, that the first battle of the war took place. Fort Necessity National Battlefield is in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. As a small park focused primarily on cultural resources, background information on associated environmental resources is not widely available. Furthermore, the data that do exist are fragmented, making assessment of the natural resource statuses and trends within the park a difficult task.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2018

In order to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2018. This assessment was a collaborative effort between National Park Service staff and Pennsylvania State University. The final technical report evaluated eleven natural resource topics based on available data:

- Air quality

- Water quality

- Wetlands

- Aquatic species

- Wildlife

- Threatened and endangered species

- Invasive plant species

- Landscape

- Soundscape

- Lightscape

- Visitor use

The natural resources within Fort Necessity National Battlefield are moderately impacted. Six resources were in good condition: aquatic species, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, landscape, soundscape and lightscape; three resources had conditions of moderate concern: water quality, wetlands, and visitor usage; and the remaining two resources had conditions of significant concern: air quality and invasive plant species. A recurring obstacle in designating condition, trend, and confidence statuses was a lack of spatial and temporal data. Ideally, to address this issue, the park would begin to collect site-specific data, both to confirm resource conditions and to serve as a baseline for future trend analyses, and regularly manage and interpret said data, however finding the resources to do so is difficult. The most important action the park can take in response to this assessment is to continue to collect site-specific baseline data on its natural resources.

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: February 25, 2022


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