Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Pinnacles 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 broad stone arch with rock fins and pinnacles in the distance.
Tower Arch.

NPS/Neal Herbert.

Pinnacles National Monument, located in central California, is a gem of volcanic rock formations and talus caves in a relatively intact ecosystem dominated by chaparral vegetation. Visitors come to Pinnacles for many reasons including hiking, rock climbing, viewing condors, wildflowers and other life forms in their natural environment, and immersing themselves in wilderness. Pinnacles is notable for the wide variation of its plant communities, and provides a haven of thousands of diverse animal species.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2013

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this national monument, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2013. National Park Service representatives examined park needs and available data, and chose four resource topics and their associated indicators to assess:

- Air and climate

- Water

- Biological integrity

- Landscapes

The resource topics were compared to available reference conditions, but were not assigned explicit condition statuses. The condition assessment identified a number of emerging issues that may become of greater management concern in the future. The most obvious of these is climate change from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Other emerging issues are related to chemical contaminants, potential loss of connectivity in the larger landscape, and skyglow from regional metropolitan areas. The report identifies data gaps that, when addressed, will improve the conditions of many of the resource topics that were assessed.

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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