National Park Service

Vital Signs Monitoring


ocean temperature plot

The goal of Vital Signs monitoring is to collect scientifically sound information on the current status and long-term trends of park natural resources. The twelve top Vital Signs for the Southeast Alaska Network were chosen based on the defining environmental characteristics of this region and the natural resource priorities of individual parks. Vital Sign selection was guided by conceptual ecological models, tools that represent our current understanding of the basic structure and function of Southeast Alaska ecosystems.

Detailed information on Vital Sign prioritization, selection, and implementation is available in the Southeast Alaska Network’s Vital Signs Monitoring Plan. Links on the left of this page connect to individual monitoring programs that provide detailed documentation, all current data products, and outreach materials.

Monitoring Program Status (March 2016)

The table below shows, as of this writing, progress toward implementing monitoring for the highest priority Vital Signs. Note that Vital Signs vary among parks.

[ priority=fully operational,   planned=partially operational/in development,   unstarted=deferred,   not monitored=not monitored.]
Vital Sign GLBA KLGO SITK Status
Environmental Contaminants planned planned planned Protocol in review.
Freshwater Water Quality operational operational operational In full operation using SEAN protocol.
Covers 2010 to present.
Glacial Dynamics Deferred Deferred unplanned Deferred.
Intertidal Communities unplanned unplanned Deferred Deferred.
Kittlitz's Murrelets operational unplanned unplanned In full operation using SEAN protocol.
Covers 2009 to present.
Landform and Landcover unstarted unstarted unstarted Partial delivery planned through implementation of national landcover protocol, otherwise deferred.
Sea Otters planned unplanned unplanned Sea otter protocol development in progress.
Oceanography operational unplanned unplanned In full operation using SEAN protocol.
Covers 1993 to present.
Streamflow operational operational operational USGS gages operational at priority locations in the three network parks.
Weather and Climate operational operational operational SITK using existing agency stations.
All KLGO stations deployed.
GLBA stations 70% deployed.
Joint protocol with Central Alaska Network and Arctic Network has been completed.
GLBA=Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, KLGO=Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, SITK=Sitka National Historical Park.
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