Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Ocmulgee 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 view of two green mounds from a curved road with a cloudy sky above
Greater Temple & Lesser Temple Mounds.

NPS photo.

Ocmulgee (pronounced oak-mull-ghee) National Monument is a memorial to the early American Indians in the region. The Indian name is from the Hitchiti (oki, water, from the word och meaning in or down in; mulgis—boiling or bubbling). Ocmulgee National Monument is a national historic treasure because it is the only known site in the eastern United States with a continuous history of American Indians over the last 12,000 years, including rich archeology of the first agrarian civilization in eastern North America. The monument is located in Georgia, south of the Atlanta Metropolitan area. The Ocmulgee River forms the boundary of one side of Ocmulgee National Monument. The natural resources of the monument are heavily impacted by human activities, including an interstate highway (I-16) and associated berm, and a railroad, which bisect the monument.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2017

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes within this national monument, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2017. National Park Service representatives discussed the needs of the park and available information, and chose seven resource topics to evaluate:

- Watershed/landscape dynamics

- Air quality

- Soundscape

- Lightscape

- Soils and streambank erosion

- Water resources

- Biological resources

In addition to these resources the team also evaluated the effects of climate change on resources within the national monument. All but three indicators within the evaluated resource topics were given condition ratings of significant concern. The overall Report Card of Natural Resource Conditions in Ocmulgee National Monument is cause for concern—more so because many of the stressors present in the monument are not possible for the National Park Service to control. Nevertheless, this report card can function as a valuable resource for monument staff and the network by enabling rapid communication to concerned citizens, policymakers in local, state, and federal governments, industries etc. about the pressing need to improve protection of the natural (and cultural) resources in this 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: February 25, 2022


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