National Park Service

San Francisco Bay Area Network (SFAN)


NPS staff and partners measure juvenile salmonids at Golden Gate NRA
NPS staff and partners measure juvenile salmonids at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The intent of park vital signs monitoring is to track a subset of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes of park ecosystems that are selected to represent the overall health or condition of park resources, known or hypothesized effects of stressors, or elements that have important human values.

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 SFAN 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.

Vital Signs Sampling Protocol Status
Coho & Steelhead Salmon Completed 2010
Harbor & Elephant Seals (Pinnipeds) Completed 2009
Invasive Plants (Early Detection) Completed 2009
Landbirds Completed 2010
Northern Spotted Owls Completed 2010
Plant Community Change Completed 2016
Prairie Falcons Completed 2010
Riparian Habitat Completed 2011
Rocky Intertidal Habitat Completed 2011
Streamflow Completed 2011
Water Quality (Freshwater) Completed 2006
Western Snowy Plovers Completed 2014

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