Natural Resource Condition Assessment
Congress, in its FY 2003 Appropriations Act, instructed and funded the National Park Service to assess environmental conditions in National Park units. Threats from exotic species, water pollution, adjacent development, and other sources are management concerns for many Parks. Consequently, NPS needs to better understand and evaluate the existing data, and in some cases collect new site-specific data, to understand the state of knowledge and condition of natural resources within and adjacent to park units. The Natural Resource Condition Assessment Program will allow the NPS to gain this needed understanding and to eventually address threats and issues on watershed or regional scales. Information gained under this program will form the basis for development of actions to reduce and prevent impairment of Park resources through park and partnership efforts. Results of this assessment will provide 8 park units located in the Upper Columbia Basin Network with an integrated, overall evaluation of current natural resource conditions. The natural resource condition assessments will interpret natural resources in their regional context, evaluate overall condition status for key natural resources in targeted areas, document critical data and knowledge gaps, and highlight existing/emerging resource condition threats and stressors for each park.
Individual reports will be published for 8 UCBN park units that will include supporting data in a database. The final report shall conform to the NPS technical series format. A GIS-based assessment including the construction of ArcGIS layers depicting extent and acreages of land health types (uplands and wetlands), drainages, water quality monitoring stations, resources threats, land uses, soil and habitat typing and other types of relevant information will be submitted following NPS specifications and using the Upper Columbia Basin Network file structure.
Assessment work began for the 4 northern parks in the Network (JODA, LARO, NEPE, and WHMI) in October 2007, and assessment work in the 4 southern parks (BIHO, CIRO, CRMO, and HAFO) began in October 2008.