Monitoring Program Overview
The primary goal of the monitoring program is to provide managers of the Great Lakes national parks with scientifically defensible data on the status and trends of a core set of ecological indicators known as Vital Signs. These vital signs were identified through a formal three-year process that included network staff, park staff, and outside scientists (report). The Network�s goals, ecological setting, list of indicators, and implementation schedule is documented in a long-term ecological monitoring plan [3mb PDF File].
The Great Lakes Network is taking a holistic approach by monitoring a diverse set of eight focal indicators (illustration) which:
These indicators are a subset of the total suite of natural resources that park managers are directed to preserve �unimpaired for future generations�. The Network�s goal is to assist parks by collecting quality data on a core set of indicators. All data are collected under peer-reviewed protocols and products are made available through technical reports, professional journal publications, briefing statements, fact sheets, and presentations.
- Span the major ecosystems (terrestrial, aquatic, atmospheric);
- Include bird, amphibian, and diatom communities that integrate across systems;
- Track climate and land-use which are major ecosystem drivers; and
- Provide data on regionally-significant processes such as air and water pollution, climate change, and biomagnification of persistent contaminants.