National Park Service

Chihuahuan Desert Network (CHDN)

The Southwest Network Cooperative

The Southwest Network Cooperative (SWNC) is a joint effort between the natural resource inventory & monitoring programs of the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The NPS partners are the Chihuahuan Desert Network, Sonoran Desert Network, and Southern Plains Network. The USFWS partners are the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts Zone and Southern Plains and Playa Zone. Through this collaboration, the programs share monitoring protocols as well as data collection and reporting duties. The goal of the SWNC is to improve effectiveness and efficiency across all five networks.

Under the SWNC, the networks, in varying combinations, share protocols, training, data management, and reporting responsibilities for eight different protocols: air quality, climate, invasive exotic plants, groundwater, landbirds, surface water (streams and seeps/springs/tinajas), and terrestrial vegetation & soils, as well as trailmaster cameras. A complete breakdown of which protocols and responsibilities are shared among which networks can be found at the SWNC SharePoint site (NPS only).

Field crews are shared across the programs. For example, the Sonoran Desert Network's aquatic ecology crew conducts streams monitoring in Southern Plains Network parks, with their expenses paid by the Southern Plains Network. For protocols shared across programs, the methods and datasheets used by field crews are uniform. Data management duties are shared among the five program data management staff. The data for all programs collaborating on a given protocol are stored in a central database accessible to all of the networks. In most cases, analysis and reporting duties are assigned to a single network.

SWNC map

Southwest Network Cooperative networks and units.

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