Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Fort Union Trading Post 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.

Two tipis in a mixed-grass prairie.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site.

NPS/Victoria Stauffenberg

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is located on the Montana-North Dakota border. Between 1828 and 1867, this site was the most important fur trade post on the Upper Missouri River. Here, the Assiniboine and six other Northern Plains Indian Tribes exchanged buffalo robes and smaller furs for goods from around the world, including cloth, guns, blankets, and beads. Landscapes of mixed-grass prairie, deciduous groves, Rocky Mountain vegetation and riparian areas are bordered by the Missouri River. Fort Union Trading Post is located along a major flyway, and along with the numerous mammals, reptiles, and amphibians found there, a variety of migratory and non-migratory birds use the site.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2014

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this site, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2014. This assessment was a collaborative effort between National Park Service representatives and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. This team examined park needs and available data, and chose 11 resource topics to evaluate:

- Riparian forest community

- Natural prairie community

- Small mammals

- Reptiles and amphibians

- Air quality

- Water quality

- Reconstructed prairie community

- Birds

- Soundscape

- Viewshed

- River and stream geomorphology

Due to lack of baseline data, seven of the resource topics (riparian forest community, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, water quality, soundscape and viewshed) were not assigned a condition rating. Three resource topics (natural prairie community, reconstructed prairie community, and air quality) were given a condition rating of moderate concern; and one resource topic (river and stream geomorphology) was given a condition rating of significant concern. Threats and stressors to park resources identified during this assessment are typically anthropogenic, and often relate directly to development associated with energy production. In addition, flow regulation and dam operations on the Missouri River are factors that influence multiple components in the park.

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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