National Park Service

Sierra Nevada Network (SIEN)

Inventory & Monitoring at Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
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Location of Devils Postpile NM in the Sierra Nevada Network. Click for larger image.

Located along the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, the 800-acre Devils Postpile National Monument was established to protect its Devils Postpile columnar basalt formation and the 101-foot high Rainbow Falls. Wetlands and upland forests provide a variety of habitats for wildlife. The monument is 75% Wilderness and is surrounded by Inyo National Forest lands.

At Devils Postpile National Monument, the Sierra Nevada Network monitors birds, river hydrology, a wetland site, and does climate reporting using the meteorological station that was installed through a collaborative, interagency effort in 2005. SIEN also funded biological inventories of vascular plants, bats and other vertebrate animals in Devils Postpile between 2001–2005, and more information is available under the Inventory Briefs and Inventory Reports tabs near the top of this page.

Collaboration brings meteorological station to Devils Postpile

Installing instrumentation on Soda Springs weather station at Devils Postpile National Monument. Installing instrumentation on Soda Springs weather station at Devils Postpile National Monument, September 2005.

Prior to 2005, Devils Postpile National Monument did not have its own station for monitoring daily weather. A collaborative effort in 2005 enabled the planning, equipment purchasing, and installation of a meteorological station near the monument's visitor center and at the edge of Soda Springs Meadow. The National Park Service (Devils Postpile National Monument, Sierra Nevada Network Inventory & Monitoring Program, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks), the California Department of Water Resources Cooperative Snow Surveys, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and US Geological Survey staff all participated in this effort.

This station now serves as the primary source of data for the SIEN I&M Program's climate reporting project, and it also provides weather and climate information for monument staff, visitors, and research scientists. The station measures ambient air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, surface radiation, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation. In addition, it is equipped with snow pillows- instruments that can detect the amount of water content in the snow pack (Balmat and Scott 2010).

Forest blowdown event highlights importance of monitoring data

On November 30 to December 1, 2011, an extreme wind event affected the central Sierra Nevada mountain region, causing extensive windthrow of trees. The wind event was caused by an extreme pressure gradient from north to south over Nevada and the Sierra Nevada that was unusual for the region in its duration, atypical wind direction, and high intensity wind. Within Devils Postpile, the effects on forest stands range from areas of no blowdown and low severity (10–20% of trees killed) to a few areas of high severity with loss of numerous large trees and opening of the forest canopy. In June 2012, Devils Postpile staff hosted a workshop about the event targeting public audiences.

Tree blowdown from severe Fall 2011 windstorm, Devils Postpile National Monument. Tree blowdown from severe Fall 2011 windstorm, Devils Postpile National Monument. Photo: Anthony Caprio.

Fortunately, monitoring plots had been installed by the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Fire Ecology Program after the 1992 Rainbow Fire to monitor fire effects on forest structure, fuels, and plant species composition. Additional plots have been established over time to acquire more spatially extensive data on forest stand structure and fire history. National Park Service staff from Devils Postpile National Monument, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Sierra Nevada Network worked with a climatologist to describe the wind event and use the fire effects plot data and additional data collected in May 2012 to characterize the density and characteristics of windthrown trees (Hilimire et al. 2013). A resource brief summarizes the results of this study.

References Cited

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Park Species Lists

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What's the difference?

A Checklist contains only those species that are designated as "present" or "probably present" in the park.

The Full List with Details includes all the Checklist species plus species that are unconfirmed, historically detected, or incorrectly reported in the park. The Full List also contains species that are "in review" because their status in the park hasn't been fully determined. Additional details about the status of each species is included in the Full List.

The Checklist will almost always contain fewer species than the Full List.

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Search All Devils Postpile NM Publications

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Sierra Nevada Network Program Brief

Briefs

Bird Monitoring (Expand panel)
Climate Monitoring (Expand panel)
High-elevation Forest Monitoring (Expand panel)
Lake Monitoring (Expand panel)
Landscape Dynamics (Expand panel)
River Monitoring (Expand panel)
Wetlands Monitoring (Expand panel)
Inventory Briefs (Expand panel)

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Inventory Reports

Biological Inventories - Animals (Expand panel)
Biological Inventories - Plants (Expand panel)
Climate (Expand panel)
Geologic Resources (Expand panel)
Soils (Expand panel)
Wetlands (Expand panel)
Baseline Water Quality (Expand panel)

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Monitoring Reports

Birds (Expand panel)
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Lakes (Expand panel)
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Rivers (Expand panel)
Wetlands (Expand panel)

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Protocols

Birds (Expand panel)
Climate Reporting (Expand panel)
Rivers (Expand panel)
Wetlands (Expand panel)


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Last Updated: March 17, 2017 Contact Webmaster