Fairbanks, AK. May 1, 2013. National Park Service wildlife biologist John Burch has published a new Natural Resource Technical Report titled 'Annual report on vital signs monitoring of wolf (Canis lupus) distribution and abundance in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Central Alaska Network: 2012 report'. The report is available at the following URL: https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=469394&file=YuchWolvesNetworkMonitoring2012AnnualReport_nrss.pdf
The full citation is as follows: Burch, J. 2012. Annual report on vital signs monitoring of wolf (Canis lupus) distribution and abundance in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Central Alaska Network: 2012 report. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/CAKN/NRTR—2012/736. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Fairbanks, AK. May 23, 2013. The National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network has published a new Natural Resource Data Series report titled 'Monitoring hazardous fuel reduction in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve: Lessons learned from the Chokosna Fuels Reduction Project'. Download the report
Fairbanks, AK. May 9, 2013. NPS Central Alaska Network ecologist Carl Roland co-authored a paper titled 'Patterns in the occupancy and abundance of the globally rare lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska'. The article appears in the journal The Bryologist.
Fairbanks, AK. May 2, 2013. National Park Service aquatic ecologist Trey Simmons has published a new technical report titled ' Central Alaska Network flowing waters monitoring program: 2010 annual report'. Download the report
The number of wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve has decreased by more than 50 percent from fall 2012, according to biologists who took advantage of late winter snow conditions to fly surveys of the 2.5 million acre conservation area. The drop is substantially more than normal and coincides with predator control efforts by Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducted near the preserve.
Biologists study wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Denali National Park & Preserves, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Researchers studying wolf populations in this network of parks (Central Alaska Network) utilize radio collars and radio telemetry to monitor a sample of packs in each park and/or preserve. When possible, dominant breeding wolves in each pack are identified and selected for collaring, based on their behavior and appearance. Aerial monitoring of collared wolves focuses on obtaining early-winter and late-winter population counts and evaluating pup production and den use in early summer. When a wolf is selected for collaring, it is captured via aerial pursuit and darting. While it is sedated, the wolf is also given a variety of health measurements and blood is taken for genetic sampling. Wolves are of great importance to park visitors because of the unique opportunities to view wolves in Alaska's parks. Information on wolf populations will allow managers to protect wolves in a variety of ways.
FAIRBANKS, AK— An article in the current issue of Ecological Monographs provides new insights about the trees in Denali National Park’s vast, open landscape and how changes in climate may translate to changes across interior Alaska.
The article summarizes work by scientists with the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring program. They examined over 1100 study plots in a 4.5 million-acre area of Denali National Park across 10 years to describe forest communities and draw connections between tree species, habitat, and environmental characteristics. The researchers then used their extensive set of results to evaluate several common hypotheses on how forests of the north will respond to climate change. The result is a study of unprecedented scale that paints an objective picture of the diversity of the landscape and sets the stage for tracking future changes in interior Alaska.
In contrast to some previous studies, the authors report that white spruce (Picea glauca) may respond favorably to warming conditions by increasing in abundance and distribution by expanding into newly thawed terrain. In addition, this study reports no current evidence for a large-scale shift from spruce to broadleaf forests in the lowlands of Denali National Park, where coniferous forests still dominate the landscape. “We now have a solid baseline from which to measure changes and just as importantly, the causes of those changes,”? said Carl Roland, biologist with the National Park Service and lead author on the article. “The effects of climate change can already be seen in Alaska, and this study demonstrates the value of long-term monitoring programs to our collective knowledge about these vast areas.”? Roland added that “identical large-scale vegetation studies to the one in Denali are occurring in other Alaska parks, further expanding our understanding of Alaska’s natural landscapes and how they may change over time”.?
The National Park Service Central Alaska Network has published a new Natural Resource Data Series report titled 'Acoustic monitoring report, Denali National Park and Preserve – 2010'. This document provides an overview of the acoustic monitoring program in Denali National Park and reports results obtained data collected in 2010. Download the report (pdf).
Fairbanks, AK. December 20, 2012. Wood frog monitoring in the Central Alaska Network (CAKN) began in 2011 with the deployment of sound recording devices used to determine the timing and duration of the wood frog breeding season. This project was developed in collaboration with the Terrestrial Wetland Global Change Research Network (TWGCRN) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), whose goal is to track changes in the timing and duration of the wood frog breeding season across North America. Read the whole Resource Brief
Fort Collins, CO. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program has created a new Youtube channel for sharing the results of its natural resource monitoring efforts in America's National Parks. Viewers can learn what kinds of science is being conducted in their national parks and how it drives management decision making. The URL for the channel is http://www.youtube.com/impnps
The National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network has released a new resource brief titled 'Monitoring Vegetation in the Central Alaska Network'. This new briefing document summarizes the strategy and findings of the vegetation monitoring program in Denali National Park and Preserve Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The document is available at the following URL: https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=458768&file=RB_CAKN_VegMonitoring_Oct12.pdf
Fairbanks, Alaska. The National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network has released a new resource brief titled 'The phenology of flowering, leaf-out and senescence in aspen (Populus tremuloides) in the Central Alaska Network'. This new briefing document summarizes the strategy and findings of the plant phenology monitoring program in Denali National Park and Preserve Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The document is available at the following URL: https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=458761&file=RB_CAKN_VegAspenPhen_Oct12.pdf
Fairbanks, Alaska. The National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network has released a new resource brief titled 'Biological Assessment of Water Quality'. This new briefing document summarizes the strategy and findings of the streams and rivers monitoring program in Denali National Park and Preserve Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The document is available at the following URL: https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=458729&file=RB_CAKN_RivStreamWQ_MAY12FINAL.pdf
Noted wildlife biologist and wolf expert Tom Meier died unexpectedly at his home outside Denali National Park sometime during this past weekend. Co-workers went to check on him the evening of Tuesday, August 14th, when he did not arrive for a seminar he was to lead on the park’s wolves.
Meier, 61, was a Denali institution who was passionate about his work with the park’s emblematic wolves. He began studying the species in 1976 with David Mech. After doing research in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he came to Denali in 1986 to conduct fieldwork for the Denali wolf project with John Burch. He left in 1993 to pursue a doctorate, and from 1996 to 2004 worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the reintroduction of wolves in Montana.
He came back to Denali in 2004 to lead the biological program and conduct predator/prey research. His influence went beyond the National Park Service due to his extensive knowledge of wolves and his ability to work with other agencies and independent researchers on wolf management issues. Through his presentations and seminars on the park’s wolves he inspired countless numbers of park and concession employees, visitors, students, and others.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve hosts one of the highest concentrations of peregrine falcon nests in North America. Located just up river from Eagle, Alaska, this peregrine falcon eyrie (nest) is on a bluff overlooking the Yukon River. This eyrie produced two successful chicks that are only a week or two away from fledging (permanently leaving the eyrie) and are very active. Watch as their white down gets covered by the fast-growing brown feathers.
If you can't see any peregrines on the webcam, it's because they are out exploring and moving around the bluff. Watch closely and you might get to see mom or dad fly in to feed their young. Once the chicks have fledged, we will zoom out so that you can enjoy the fall colors and a view of the Yukon River.
Inventory and Monitoring Program receives Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award
WASHINGTON – National Park Service (NPS) scientists and technicians know real-world problems and see them every day. Their work to help park managers understand and care for park resources in a changing landscape was honored recently by the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) in Newport, R.I.
The NPS I&M Program received the US-IALE Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award for its creative applications of landscape ecology to the resolution of practical land management dilemmas in national parks and other protected areas worldwide. Landscape ecology is the interdisciplinary science and study of ecological processes that cover broad spatial scales and often extend well beyond park boundaries.
“It is always an honor to be recognized and know that your day-to-day work has real meaning and makes a difference,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This award confirms what we know – that our inventory and monitoring efforts are important to park managers and to the people who visit national parks today. But it’s more than that really, we do this so future generations may see, touch and feel the wonder of America’s natural heritage in her national parks.”
Steve Fancy, the NPS I&M Program Leader, said the team’s efforts to bring landscape approaches to the NPS have benefitted greatly from ongoing collaborations with scientists at other agencies and institutions, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, NASA-Ames, USDA Forest Service, Montana State University, Colorado State University, and the Woods Hole Research Center. “Information that continues to emerge from the landscape ecology work being done with our partners will help parks interpret and manage their resources in a landscape context,” he said.
Park staff deployed acoustic monitoring systems to ten locations in Denali National Park and Preserve in 2009. The purpose of this monitoring effort was to inventory the acoustic conditions and level of aircraft operations in Denali National Park as called for in the 2006 Backcountry Management Plan. Data collected included existing ambient sound pressure levels, natural ambient sound pressure levels, percent time audible, and loud acoustic event statistics for intrinsic and extrinsic sound sources. Deployed systems were configured to log sound pressure levels every second and continuous mp3 audio recordings, 24 hours per day. These data serve as a permanent record of existing acoustical conditions at these locations for the summer of 2009.
The Geologic Resources Inventory (GRI) Team is pleased to announce the completion and availability of digital geologic map coverage for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST). Providing parks with digital geologic maps meets the geologic inventory goal defined and funded by the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. This map is provided in full GIS coverage and can be found at:
Digital Geologic Map of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and Vicinity, Alaska (GRI MapCode WRST)
The Central Alaska Network Soundscape Monitoring Program is featured in an article in the New York Times titled 'Is Silence Going Extinct?'. The article describes soundscapes and acoustic monitoring as the author follows Denali National Park and Preserve physical science technician Davyd Betchkal through a day in the field setting up an acoustic monitoring station in the park. Read the article.
The National Park Service has released a new video titled 'Stewardship: Monitoring the Effects of Climate Change on Park Resources '. Climate change is real, maybe more real here in the subarctic already than other parts of the planet. It's the position of the National Park Service that humans can still take steps to reduce the impact of climate change, and that park visitors should be encouraged to support and make changes that can help protect these special places. In Denali National Park and Preserve, scientists are monitoring climate change closely and cautiously discussing how park management may need to change in the future based on current trends. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/PSt4dvjoRFE (Open Captions: Running Time 04:26).
Central Alaska Network biologist Trey Simmons recently had an article published in Environmental Management titled 'Analyzing the Impacts of Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trails on Watershed Processes in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska'. Click here to read the article
This document introduces a moose monitoring protocol for the Central Alaska Network (CAKN). The network comprises Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Denali National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. This Protocol provides the rationale and objectives for monitoring of moose in this network, and specific instructions for implementing the monitoring program. Download this publication
The Arctic and Central Alaska Networks announce a new publication titled 'Using distance sampling and hierarchical models to improve estimates of Dall's sheep abundance' in the journal Wildlife Management. The article was written by Joshua H. Schmidt, Kumi L. Rattenbury, James P. Lawler and Margaret C. Maccluskie. Click here to read the article abstract.
Julia Brice taking a break during
small mammal monitoring
in Denali NP&Pres.
FAIRBANKS, AK –“Vole wranglers, it’s time to head out,” announces Melanie Flamme, biologist with the National Park Service. And so begins the annual effort to monitor the small mammal population in Denali National Park. The small mammal monitoring project has been running for almost 20 years, but it’s just not the large dataset and informative science that makes this project so interesting. Each year, field work for the project is conducted by high school and college students – the next generation of scientists.
Julia Brice, now a sophomore at University of Alaska Fairbanks, started volunteering with the program when she was a freshman in high school. “It was a totally new experience for me. I had never been camping before, and we stayed in a tent for a week during the project. It was really exciting and fun,” says Julia. She and the dozen other students who have been involved with the project over the last five years learned about it from an outreach program Melanie and Tracie Pendergrast, a National Park Service Education Specialist, gave to their biology classes at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“Mel did a presentation on her job as a biologist for the National Park Service. It was a really eye-opening and interesting presentation. At the end of it, she told us about an opportunity to volunteer on one of her projects. I’m into biology and animals and thought it would be cool. Mel has been an amazing mentor to me and the other students.” Julia has spent the last five summers studying small mammals and became an employed bio-technician this year.
A major in wildlife biology, she is currently taking an ecology class. “My teacher uses a lot of case studie...
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The National Park Service (NPS) measures progress toward improving park air quality by examining trends for key air quality indicators, including:
• visibility—which affects how well and how far visitors can see;
• ozone—which affects human health and native vegetation; and
• atmospheric deposition—which affects ecological health through acidification and fertilization of soil and surface waters.
The NPS monitors one or more of these indicators in 57 park units, and there are sufficient data to assess conditions and trends in all of these parks. In addition, many state and local air quality monitoring stations are located near enough to parks that the data they collect are considered reasonably representative of park air quality. As a result, air quality conditions and trends have been calculated for 195 monitoring locations representing 241 park units. Click here to go to the NPS Air Quality Conditions web page
By Torre Jorgenson, Ken Stumpf, Joanna Roth, Trish Miller, Eric Pullman, Tim Cater, Michael Duffy, Wendy Davis, Matt Macander, and Jess Grunblatt
Ecosystems of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST) are highly diverse owing to extremely
variable geologic terrain and to the large climate gradient that ranges from the wet Gulf of Alaska coast to the
cold and dry continental climate of Interior Alaska. At 13.2 million acres, it is the largest park in the NPS system. Its national and global significance was recognized by its designation as a national park and preserve under the Alaska National Lands Conservation Act in 1980 and as a “World Heritage” site by the United Nations in 1979 that includes the Canadian Kluane National Park. Download this publication
The 2008 field season marked the third year of development of the flowing waters portion of the Central Alaska Network (CAKN) Inventory and Monitoring Program, also known as the Vital Signs Program. Data collection occurred in both Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST) and in Denali National Park and Preserve (DENA). The purposes of the study were to: 1) continue to refine field protocols and logistics related to the collection of relevant data in DENA and WRST streams and rivers; 2) evaluate the feasibility of using the generalized random tessellation stratified survey design to select synoptic sampling sites in WRST; and 3) implement the long-term flowing water monitoring program. Download this publication