Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park

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.

View of Chatham Manor from gardens in the front of the long brick house.
Chatham Manor.

NPS Photo

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is located in central Virginia and commemorates four major engagements of the Civil War. Today, the park serves as an important resource for public education and historic interpretation of the battles and the maneuvers employed by the Union and Confederate armies. It also preserves an important area of open space in the midst of increasing residential and commercial development.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2016

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this Military Park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2016. This assessment was a collaborative effort between the National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Park staff and management, and Pennsylvania State University. This team worked together and chose fourteen resources to evaluate:

- Air quality

- Macroinvertibrate indicator of water quality

- Lightscape (dark night sky)

- Fish

- Soundscape (acoustic environment)

- Amphibians and reptiles

- Water quality

- Birds

- Mammals

- Landscape dynamics

- Vegetation communities

- Non-native invasive plant species

- Landscape connectivity

- Threatened and endangered species

Much is still unknown about many natural resources at the park. For example, information about terrestrial invertebrates, aquatic invertebrates (with the exception of macroinvertebrates), and bats is lacking. Lightscape, soundscape, and landscape dynamics seem to be in good to moderate condition, while the other resources require additional monitoring data before conditions can be determined. As Park management continues to learn more about the natural resources, they must also continue to steward its natural and cultural resources from within its boundaries. Despite a history of disturbance, increasing human population, and concomitant residential/commercial development in and around the park, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park supports a diverse assemblage of plant communities, aquatic resources, and wildlife. These natural resources of global, regional, and local significance persist within a landscape that preserves the history of several significant Civil War battles.

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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