National Park Service

Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN)

Parks in this Network

SCPN Network Map
Click to see
Network Parks
Find your park logo


Water Quality - crest stage gage along Walnut Creek near Walnut Canyon NM (SCPN photo) Birds - American kestrel<br />(US Fish and Wildlife Service photo) Aquatic macroinvertebrates - Capulin Creek in Bandelier NM<br />(SCPN photo) Springs - Long House Spring in Mesa Verde NP<br />(SCPN photo) Birds - aspen woodland habitat in Bandelier NM<br />(SCPN photo) Land surface phenology - changing foliage in Canyon de Chelly NM (SCPN photo) Water quality - Rito de los Frijoles after 2011 fire and flood in Bandelier NM (SCPN photo) Birds - riparian habitat in Canyon de Chelly NM<br />(SCPN photo) Integrated upland - desert vegetation in Glen Canyon NRA<br />(SCPN photo) Aquatic macroinvertebrates - Escalante River in Glen Canyon NRA (SCPN photo) Integrated upland - mixed conifer forest in Grand Canyon NP (SCPN photo) Aquatic macroinvertebrates - Mancos River in Mesa Verde NP (SCPN photo) Integrated upland - pinyon-juniper woodland in Bandelier NM<br />(SCPN photo) Land surface phenology - snow in the southwest in Dec 2001<br />(NASA true color MODIS image) Aquatic macroinvertebrates - Hermit Creek in Grand Canyon NP (SCPN photo) Birds - grassland habitat at Petrified Forest NP<br />(SCPN photo) Springs - Cherry Canyon in Walnut Canyon NM<br />(SCPN photo) Integrated riparian - total station survey at Walnut Canyon NM (SCPN photo) Birds - Western Bluebird<br />(US Fish and Wildlife Service photo) Integrated upland - grassland with junipers in Wupatki NM<br />(SCPN photo)

National Park managers across the country are confronted with increasingly complex and challenging issues that require broad-based understanding of the status and trends of park resources as a foundation for making decisions, working with other agencies, and communicating with the public to protect park natural systems and native species. Monitoring data help to define the normal limits of natural variation in park resources, detect long-term environmental change, provide insights into the ecological consequences of change, and inform stakeholders and the general public of changes in resource conditions that may be caused by stressors operating at regional and global scales.

The NPS monitoring program provides information on the overall condition of each park and the long-term effectiveness of management regimes based on changes in the status and trend of selected park resources. The process of selecting indicators for each network began with scoping workshops to identify focal resources important to each park, agents of change or stressors, and key properties that characterize healthy ecosystems. Conceptual models were then developed to formalize our current understanding of ecosystem processes and dynamics, and how particular stressors may affect focal 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".

The first few years of monitoring data are being used to document current conditions for selected vital signs across network park ecosystems. Over the long term, consistently collected monitoring data will provide park managers with information describing the status and long-term trends in resource condition. This information is fundamental to natural resources stewardship because it provides the context for interpreting observed changes and may provide the basis for modifying or initiating new management practices.

Published Protocols Vital Signs
Aquatic macroinvertebrates Aquatic Macroinvertebrates
Habitat metrics
Integrated Upland Vegetation composition & structure
Soil stability & upland hydrologic function
Protocols reviewed  
Bird Communities Upland & riparian bird communities
Habitat metrics
Water Quality Stream water quality
Spring water quality
Protocols in development  
Integrated Riparian Channel morphology
Streamflow & depth to groundwater
Riparian vegetation composition & structure
Spring Ecosystems Spring flow
Wetted extent
Wetland vegetation
Land Surface Phenology Start of season
End of season
Spring peak greenness
Monsoon peak greenness
Season-long productivity
Snow cover extent and duration

For more information, click here to contact us.

⇑ To Top of Page

Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster