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Northern Great Plains Network (NGPN)

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NPS staff and cooperators deploy samplers to monitor aquatic invertebrates at Agate Fossil Beds NM
NPS staff and cooperators deploy samplers to monitor aquatic invertebrates at Agate Fossil Beds NM

The intent of park vital signs monitoring is to track a set of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes that represent the overall health or condition of park resources.

The elements and processes that are monitored are a subset of the total suite of natural resources that park managers are directed to preserve "unimpaired for future generations," including water, air, geological resources, plants and animals, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on those resources. In situations where natural areas have been so highly altered that physical and biological processes no longer operate (e.g., control of fires and floods in developed areas), information obtained through monitoring can help managers understand how to develop the most effective approach to restoration or, in cases where restoration is impossible, ecologically sound management.

The NGPN Monitoring Plan provides a detailed description of the strategy for monitoring these vital signs. The table below shows the detailed monitoring protocols used to sample these vital signs to date.

Monitoring Protocols Vital Signs Status
Air Quality Ozone
Wet and Dry Deposition
Visibility and Particulate Matter
Air Contaminants
Aquatic Contaminants Aquatic Contaminants Planned
Aquatic Invertebrates Aquatic Macroinvertebrates Complete
Cave Water and Meteorology Cave Meteorology
Cave Water Chemistry
Park-level development
Landbirds Landbirds Complete
Landscape Pattern and Dynamics

Land Cover and Use
Fire and Fuel Dynamics
Forest Insects and Diseases
Treatments of Exotic Infestations
Extreme Disturbances

Plant Communities Riparian Lowland Plant Communities
Upland Plant Communities
Fire and Fuel Dynamics
Exotic Plant Early Detection
Forest Insects and Diseases
Prairie Dogs Prairie Dogs Complete for SCBL
Soundscape Soundscape Planned
Stream and River Channel Characteristics Stream and River Channel Characteristics Planned
Water Quality
Surface Water Dynamics
Surface Water Chemistry
Weather and Climate Weather & Climate Planned

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster