NCCN Mountain Lakes and Ponds Monitoring Protocol
Parks where protocol will be implemented
Mount Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park Service Complex
Olympic National Park
Importance / Issues
Mountain lakes and ponds serve as integrator sites for impacts occurring in their watersheds, and consequently may be the most economically efficient sites to detect early warning signals for some non-point pollutants. Primary stressors that affect Network montane lakes and ponds include global climate change, air pollution (metals, pesticides and other semi-volatile organics, acidification, nutrient deposition), visitor disturbances, and introduction of non-native fish species.
- Monitoring Objectives
- Determine the natural variation and long term trends in selected physical, chemical and biological water quality parameters in reference lakes/ponds.
- Determine the status and trend of amphibian assemblages in focal lakes.
- Determine long-term trends in the abundance and condition of non-native fish assemblages in selected reference lakes.
- Document trends in direct effects of visitor use on shoreline condition for the reference lakes.
Lake physical characteristics (temperature, clarity, volume, depth, habitat, riparian disturbance); water chemical characteristics (pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, acid neutralizing capacity, total dissolved solids, nutrients, anions and cations); biological characteristics (algae, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, amphibians, non-native fish)
- Management Applications
- What are the status and trends of the ecological condition of small lakes and ponds in the Parks?
- How are climate change and air quality related impacts affecting the ecological condition of lakes and ponds?
- Are non-native fish species expanding their abundance and distribution, and what are effects on native biota (zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and amphibians)?
- Is visitor use related disturbance increasing and what are the effects on the ecological condition of lakes and ponds
- The protocol was completed and submitted to NPS-PWR peer review, May 2010. The protocol was approved May 16, 2012.
- Status and Trends
- Archive data and photos (including NPStoret data processing) and document monitoring activities.
- Describe current status of resource at each site using descriptive statistics and graphical representations of the data.
- Site specific abrupt change analyses will be added to the Annual Report following the third year of data collection.
- Site specific trend analyses will be added to the Annual Report following the 5th year of data collection.
- Monitoring results and summaries of activities will be communicated with other park and NCCN Network staff.
- Routine data summaries and statistical analyses that normally appear in an Annual Report with the addition of park-wide analysis of status, abrupt change, and long-term trends.
- Examination of relationships between monitoring program response variables and their covariates.
- Development and revision of reference site groups and criteria thresholds.
- Evaluate precision and sampling bias for all response variables and make recommendations.
- Re-evaluate sample size requirements for detection of trends and estimations of status.
- Acquire peer review and make necessary changes as needed.
- Develop management and research recommendations.
- Interpret data for public and upper level managers at Park, Network, and National levels.
5-year Summary Reports:
Coastal Ecologist/Limnologist - Olympic National Park
Aquatic Ecologist - North Cascades National Park
Link to Conract Lab QA QC Procedures