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National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

Natural Resource Program Center Fort ,

Vital Signs Monitoring Plan for the Southern Colorado Network

Natural Resource Report NPS/SCPN/NRR-2006/002 cover:Layout 1 9/11/06 11:01 AM Page 2

ON THE COVER Pinyon-juniper woodlands, slickrock, and cliffs characterize the landscape overlooking Betatakin at National Monument. Photo by Chris Lauver, NPS NPS layout 6.0 9/19/06 2:17 PM Page i

Vital Signs Monitoring Plan for the Southern Network

Natural Resource Report NPS/SCPN/NRR-2006/002

Lisa P. Thomas, Marguerite N. Hendrie (editor), Chris L. Lauver, Stephen A. Monroe, Nicole J. Tancreto, Steven L. Garman1, Mark E. Miller2

National Park Service, Southern Colorado Plateau Network, Northern University, P.O. Box 5765, Flagstaff, AZ 86011

1National Park Service, Plateau Network, P.O. Box 848, Moab, UT 84532

2United States Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, c/o –Escalante National Monument 190 E. Center St., Kanab, UT 84741

October 2006

U.S. Department of Interior National Park Service Natural Resource Program Center Fort Collins, Colorado NPS layout 6.0 9/19/06 2:17 PM Page ii

The Natural Resource Publication series addresses natu- Views and conclusions in this report are those of the ral resource topics that are of interest and applicability authors and do not necessarily reflect policies of the to a broad readership in the National Park Service and National Park Service. Mention of trade names or com- to others in the management of natural resources, mercial products does not constitute endorsement or including the scientific community, the public, and the recommendation for use by the National Park Service. NPS conservation and environmental constituencies. Manuscripts are peer-reviewed to ensure that the infor- Printed copies of reports in these series may be pro- mation is scientifically credible, technically accurate, duced in a limited quantity and they are only available appropriately written for the intended audience, and is as long as the supply lasts. This report is also available designed and published in a professional manner. from the Southern Colorado Plateau website (http://www.nature.nps.gov/im/units/SCPN) on the The Natural Resources Technical Reports series is used to internet, or by sending a request to: disseminate the peer-reviewed results of scientific studies Southern Colorado Plateau Network in the physical, biological, and social sciences for both University the advancement of science and the achievement of the P.O. Box 5765 National Park Service’s mission. The reports provide con- Flagstaff, AZ 86011 tributors with a forum for displaying comprehensive data that are often deleted from journals because of page Please cite this publication as: limitations. Current examples of such reports include Thomas, L.P., M.N. Hendrie (editor), C.L. Lauver, the results of research that addresses natural resource S.A. Monroe, N.J. Tancreto, S.L. Garman, and M.E. Miller. management issues; natural resource inventory and 2006. Vital Signs Monitoring Plan for the Southern monitoring activities; resource assessment reports; scien- Colorado Plateau Network. Natural Resource Report tific literature reviews; and peer reviewed proceedings of NPS/SCPN/NRR-2006/002. National Park Service, Fort technical workshops, conferences, or symposia. Collins, Colorado.

NPS D-46, October 2006

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KNOWING THE CONDITION of natural resources in national detailed park scoping to identify the most important parks is fundamental to the Service’s ability to manage resources and issues for each park. A second step was park resources “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future to collaborate with regional scientists to develop con- generations”. The National Park Service has implement- ceptual ecological models of the predominant Colorado ed a strategy to improve its science information base so Plateau . The network then held a series of that parks with significant natural resources possess the workshops in 2004 to identify and evaluate vital signs resource information needed for effective decision-making for long-term monitoring. During seven topical work- and resource protection. Vital signs monitoring is a key shops park managers and scientists, collaborators from element of that strategy. The approximately 270 park the scientific community, and SCPN staff identified and units with significant natural resources have been evaluated resources and potential indicators as candi- grouped into 32 monitoring networks linked by geogra- dates for monitoring. Following those workshops, the phy and natural resource characteristics. The network SCPN Technical and Science Advisory Committees met organization will facilitate collaboration, information to make the final selection of network vital signs. sharing, and economies of scale in natural resource monitoring. Parks within each of the 32 networks col- Over the next five years, network staff and collaborators laborate with shared funding and professional staff to will develop 13 monitoring protocols to address the core design and implement long-term monitoring. The vital signs for the SCPN. These monitoring protocols will Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN) is com- provide detailed study plans that explain how data are to posed of 19 National Park Service units located in be collected, managed, analyzed, and reported and will northern Arizona, northwestern New , south- serve as a key component of quality assurance for vital Colorado, and southern . signs monitoring.

Developing an ecological monitoring strategy requires A key partner in these planning activities is the Northern a front-end investment in planning and design to Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN), our neighboring ensure that monitoring will meet the most critical network composed of 16 parks in Utah, Colorado, and information needs and produce ecologically relevant . NPS units across the Colorado Plateau share and scientifically credible data that are readily accessi- ecosystems and a long-history of working together on ble to managers. The SCPN monitoring program is natural resource science and stewardship. The two being developed over a five-year timeframe with spe- networks have been tasked by Colorado Plateau park cific objectives and reporting requirements at each of managers to identify common monitoring needs and three planning milestones. This is the final report that work together as much as possible to design and documents that process. implement ecological monitoring. The two networks collaborated on developing conceptual ecological mod- The first planning steps involved compiling and organiz- els for Colorado Plateau ecosystems and are currently ing relevant science information and conducting collaborating to develop monitoring protocols.

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SCPN core vital signs organized within the NPS Ecological Monitoring Framework

Developing sampling designs for long-term monitoring is of five SCPN superintendents, oversees network administra- essential to ensure that the data collected are representa- tion and provides program guidance and advocacy. The tive of the target populations and sufficient to draw Technical Advisory Committee, made up of park natural defensible conclusions about the resources of interest. resource managers, advises the network regarding scientific The sampling design chapter describes how sampling and technical planning aspects, park-based logistic support, locations are chosen for each vital sign and how the sam- and resource management applications of monitoring results. pling effort will be rotated through time among locations. The scientific panel comprises six academic scientists with regional and/or discipline expertise. They advise us on improv- In order to be useful to park managers over the long term, ing the scientific relevance and credibility of the program. monitoring data must be well-maintained and regularly reported. The data management chapter describes our The network was initially funded for vital signs monitoring standards and procedures to ensure the quality, security, in FY 2002 and currently receives $1,209,000 from the longevity, and availability of monitoring data and associ- NPS I&M Program on an annual basis. The NPS-Water ated information products. SCPN staff will use appropriate Resources Division annually contributes an additional computer information technology tools and will provide $124,000 for water quality monitoring. high quality data stewardship at every step of the monitor- ing process, from protocol development and data The SCPN staff is based in Flagstaff, Arizona on the cam- collection through analysis, reporting, and archiving. pus of Northern Arizona University. The program manager is supervised by the Colorado Plateau Cooperative In the data analysis and reporting chapter, we present Studies Unit (CP-CESU) Research Coordinator. an overview of how data collected by the network will In addition to the program manager, the network’s perma- be analyzed and how we will effectively share the moni- nent staff will include four scientists, a three-person data toring results with park managers, scientists, and the management team, and a half-time program assistant. The general public. network will also rely on its cooperative relationship with Northern Arizona University to meet the need for seasonal The network relies on three groups to provide program monitoring crews and will use CP-CESU agreements to oversight and guidance. The Board of Directors, composed accomplish some monitoring projects.

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MANY PEOPLE CONTRIBUTED THEIR IDEAS and hard work continued support, advice and advocacy. We trust that toward the development of the Southern Colorado through their involvement, the program will grow to Plateau Network (SCPN) and the preparation of be integrated into park management and relevant to this report. resource-related decisions. Thanks also to former board members John Lujan, Kate , and Bill Pierce. Thanks to contributors to the Phase III Report, including Rebecca Harms and Megan Swan, NAU-SCPN Research Thanks to the SCPN Science Advisory Committee (Craig Technicians; Anne Cully, SCPN Vegetation Ecologist; Allen, Jim Gosz, Dave Lime, Barry Noon, Jack Schmidt Robert Bennetts, Greater Yellowstone Network and Tom Sisk) for their excellent advice. Thanks also to Quantitative Ecologist; and Julianne Brown and Kirby former Science Advisory Committee member Charles Wynn, USGS Water Resources Division. Thanks to all Van Riper III, a long-time advocate for science in parks. who contributed to preparing earlier versions of this report, especially Jodi Whittier and Julie Atkins for their Thanks to Thom O’Dell, Angie Evenden, Steve Garman, work on the Phase I report. Thanks also to the park staff and the staff of the Northern Colorado Plateau Network and many subject matter experts who participated in (NCPN) for ‘going first’. Collaboration between the two the 2004 workshops. Colorado Plateau networks will strengthen our monitor- ing programs and provide a broader understanding of the The resource managers of the Southern Colorado condition of Colorado Plateau ecosystems. Thanks also to Plateau parks understood the importance of establishing Jayne Belnap, USGS, Southwest Biological Science Center, a long-term monitoring capacity before funding or for including SCPN in prototype monitoring efforts. positions were in place. They contributed their time and efforts, through the SCPN Technical Advisory We thank Northern Arizona University for hosting the Committee, to laying the groundwork for the monitor- SCPN. Thanks especially to Rod Parnell, Director, CP-CESU, ing program. We thank Karen Beppler-Dorn, Cole and Gary Nabhan, Director, Center for Sustainable Crocker-Bedford, Stephen Fettig, Brian Jacobs, Elaine Environments, and their staffs for facilitating our interac- Leslie, Mike Medrano, Steve Mitchelson, George San tions with the university and making us feel at home. Miguel, Brad Shattuck, John Spence, Pat Thompson, and Paul Whitefield for their contributions. Thanks to Bruce Bingham, Intermountain Region I&M Coordinator, for guiding IMR networks over the last few Ron Hiebert, Colorado Plateau CESU Research years. You have given us sound advice, facilitated our Coordinator, provided early guidance and oversight for work, sought opportunities for collaboration, and pro- the program, building awareness and support among vided an encouraging voice. Thanks also to IMR staff for superintendents, establishing the Science Advisory administrative support. Committee, and hiring positions. We thank him for his long-standing advocacy to improve the scientific infor- And finally, we greatly appreciate the leadership provided mation base of NPS and his common-sense approach by Steve Fancy, NPS National Monitoring Leader; Gary to building partnerships. Williams, NPS Inventory & Monitoring Program Manager; and Abby Miller, former Deputy Associate Director for We thank the SCPN Board of Directors (Scott Travis, Natural Resources Stewardship and Science. Your deter- Dennis Carruth, Larry Wiese and Palma Wilson) for their mination and advocacy have made this program possible.

© Illustrations by Zackery Zdinak

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Table of Contents...... vi 4.5 Grid-Based Sampling...... 60 List of Tables ...... vii 4.6 Linear-Based Sampling ...... 64 List of Figures...... viii 4.7 List-Based Sampling ...... 67 List of Appendices ...... viii 4.8 Index Sites ...... 68 List of Supporting Documents ...... viii 4.9 Census ...... 70 List of Supplements ...... viii Chapter 5: Monitoring Protocols ...... 73 Chapter 1: Introduction and Background ...... 1 5.1 Protocol Development...... 73 1.1 Network Overview ...... 1 5.2 Steps Toward an Integrated Monitoring 1.2 Purpose of Network Vital Signs Program ...... 73 Monitoring ...... 2 Chapter 6: Data Management ...... 83 1.3 Monitoring Goals and Vital Signs Selection 6.1 Goals and Objectives ...... 83 Process ...... 6 6.2 Sources of Natural Resource Data ...... 84 1.4 Ecological Context ...... 11 6.3 Roles and Responsibilities ...... 84 1.5 Natural Resources, Resource Concerns, 6.4 Infrastructure and System Architecture . . . . . 85 and Issues of SCPN Parks ...... 17 6.5 Data Management Process and Workflow . . 85 1.6 Summary of Past and Current Monitoring. . . 24 6.6 Water Quality Data ...... 87 1.7 SCPN Core Vital Signs and Monitoring 6.7 Data Design ...... 87 Objectives ...... 26 6.8 Data Acquisition and Quality Control ...... 87 Chapter 2: Conceptual Ecological Models ...... 31 6.9 Quality Assurance, Data Summarization, 2.1 The Use of Models in Designing an and Export for Analysis ...... 87 Ecological Monitoring Program ...... 31 6.10 Documentation ...... 87 2.2 Dryland Ecosystems...... 33 6.11 Access and Archiving ...... 88 2.3 Montane and Subalpine Ecosystems ...... 37 Chapter 7: Data Analysis and Reporting...... 89 2.4 Riparian and Aquatic Ecosystems ...... 41 7.1 Data Analysis ...... 89 2.5 Springs ...... 45 7.2 Data Reporting ...... 94 Chapter 3: Vital Signs ...... 49 Chapter 8: Program Administration ...... 97 3.1 Identification and Selection of Vital Signs . . . 49 8.1 Network Organization...... 97 3.2 Southern Colorado Plateau Network 8.2 Staffing...... 97 Vital Signs...... 52 8.3 Operations ...... 97 3.3 Rationale for Selection of Vital Signs 8.4 Partnerships ...... 100 and Linkage to Conceptual Models...... 53 8.5 Review Process ...... 102 Chapter 4: Sampling Design...... 57 Chapter 9: Schedule...... 103 4.1 Introduction ...... 57 9.1 Protocol Development...... 103 4.2 Sampling Concepts and Definitions...... 57 9.2 Sampling Season and Monitoring 4.3 Sample Selection...... 58 Frequency ...... 103 4.4 Spatial Allocation and Factors Chapter 10: Budget ...... 107 Influencing Sample Selection ...... 60 Chapter 11: Literature Cited...... 109

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LIST OF TABLES Table 3-4. SCPN vital signs organized within the Table 1-1 Establishment purpose and size of NPS Ecological Monitoring Framework. . . 53 SCPN park units...... 2 Table 3-5. Key ecosystem characteristics, Table 1-2. GPRA goals for SCPN parks...... 5 implications for monitoring, and Table 1-3. Management objectives relating to related vital signs...... 54 ecosystem integrity and associated Table 4-1. Tabular and notational representation ecosystem characteristics...... 8 of three example revisit designs...... 58 Table 1-4. Current and past air quality Table 4-2. Summary of sampling design, spatial monitoring in SCPN parks...... 10 allocation of samples, and revisit plan Table 1-5. Impaired waters included on Section for monitoring of SCPN vital signs...... 59 303(d) list ...... 11 Table 4-3. Proposed rotation designs for Table 1-6. Average pre-European fire monitoring upland vital signs in (a) small, frequencies in southwestern (b) medium, and (c) large size parks. . . . . 63 biotic communities...... 17 Table 4-4. Preliminary list of perennial (P) and Table 1-7. Summary of natural resource inventory intermittent (I) rivers and streams or monitoring activities in SCPN selected for monitoring riparian park units...... 25 and aquatic vital signs...... 65 Table 1-8. Core vital signs for monitoring in Table 4-5. Water quality sample types and SCPN parks...... 27 parameters...... 67 Table 1-9. Monitoring objectives for core Table 4-6. A preliminary list of springs (S) and SCPN vital signs...... 28 tinajas (T) selected for monitoring Table 2-1. Timetable for completing ecosystem four vital signs...... 70 specific conceptual models...... 34 Table 5-1. Vital signs, protocols and current Table 2-2. Key degradation processes and cooperators for the SCPN ...... 74 stressors, their ecosystem effects, Table 5-2. SCPN core vital signs, monitoring and potential measures for dryland location, justification and objectives. . . . . 75 ecosystems...... 37 Table 5-3. Spatial scale, replication effort, Table 2-3. Key degradation processes and and measurement effort for the stressors, their ecosystem effects, SCPN core vital signs...... 80 and potential measures for montane Table 6-1. Roles of SCPN network staff and and subalpine ecosystems...... 40 cooperators working on monitoring Table 2-4. Key degradation processes and projects...... 84 stressors, their ecosystem effects Table 6.2. SCPN infrastructure service or and potential measures for riparian support providers...... 84 and aquatic ecosystems...... 44 Table 6-3. Repositories for SCPN information Table 2-5. Key degradation processes and products...... 88 stressors, their ecosystem effects Table 7-1. Categories of analysis for SCPN and potential measures for springs vital signs...... 90 ecosystems...... 48 Table 7-2. Summary of proposed analyses for Table 3-1. SCPN topical workshops held in SCPN vital signs...... 91 2004 to identify and evaluate candidate Table 8-1. Board of Directors membership and vital signs...... 50 responsibilities...... 98 Table 3-2. Criteria used to evaluate candidate Table 8-2. Technical Advisory Committee SCPN vital signs...... 51 membership and responsibilities...... 98 Table 3-3. Criteria considered by workshop Table 8-3. Roles and responsibilities of participants during selection of network staff positions...... 100 vital sign sets...... 51 Table 8-4. Monitoring program review...... 101

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Table 9-1. Timeframe for implementing the Figure 4-3. Map of proposed water quality SCPN monitoring program...... 104 monitoring sites at index springs, Table 9-2. Index period and general revisit plan streams, and rivers...... 69 for vital signs monitoring...... 105 Figure 5-1. Example of integrated monitoring Table 10-1.SCPN Budget for FY 2008...... 108 questions relating to SCPN upland ecosystems...... 81 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 6-1. Data management activities within Figure 1-1. Overview of Southern Colorado Plateau the context of a monitoring project. . . . 86 Network park unit locations...... 1 Figure 8-1. SCPN organization chart...... 99 Figure 1-2. Relationships between vital signs monitoring, the resulting science LIST OF APPENDICES information base, and the park Appendix A Summary of Laws, Policy, and Guidance planning/ management...... 3 Appendix B Air Quality Monitoring Figure 1-3. Relationships among societal goals, Appendix C SCPN Water Resources (Park Narrative endpoints, and scientific measures in Section CD only) ecological assessment and monitoring . . . 7 Appendix D Detailed Natural Resource Information Figure 1-4. Flow-chart of SCPN workplan to select (CD only) and monitor vital signs...... 9 Appendix E SCPN Park Narratives (CD only) Figure 1-5. Map of SCPN park units and Appendix F Adjacent Lands Monitoring corresponding ecoregion subunits...... 12 Appendix G Topical Workshop Summaries (CD only) Figure 1-6. Map of average annual Appendix H Park-Specific Vital Signs for SCPN park units...... 14 Appendix I Water Quality Sampling Site Selection Figure 1-7. Map of land ownership across the and Maps Southern Colorado Plateau...... 26 Appendix J Protocol Development Summaries Figure 2-1. Illustration of the Jenny-Chapin Appendix K SCPN Charter model...... 32 Appendix L Operational Staffing Plan Figure 2-2. Herarchical conceptual model Appendix M Glossary scheme used in the vital signs planning process...... 33 LIST OF SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS Figure 2-3. Summary conceptual model for (CD ONLY) dryland ecosystems...... 36 Supporting Document A Resource Issues and Vital Figure 2-4. Summary conceptual model for Signs Selection Databases montane and subalpine ecosystems. . . . 38 Supoorting Document B Superintendent Interview Figure 2-5. Summary conceptual model for riparian Summary and aquatic ecosystems...... 42 Supporting Document C Data Mining Summary Figure 2-6. Summary conceptual model for spring ecosystems...... 47 LIST OF SUPPLEMENTS Figure 4-1. Spatial data layers used to create an (CD ONLY) accessible and spatially balanced Supplement I Dryland Ecosystems Conceptual Model random sample (GRTS) for monitoring Supplement II Montane Ecosystems Conceptual upland vital signs in Wupatki National Model Monument...... 61 Supplement III Riparian and Aquatic Ecosystems Figure 4-2. Example of the sampling design for Conceptual Model monitoring riparian and aquatic Supplement IV Springs Ecosystem Conceptual Model vital signs...... 66 Supplement V SCPN Data Management Plan

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The Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN) is one of 32 National Park Service inventory and monitoring networks developing Vital Signs Monitoring Plans to assess the condition of park ecosystems. The network approach facilitates collaboration, information sharing, and economies of scale in natural resource monitoring and will provide parks with a basic monitoring infra- structure that can be built upon in the future. This document describes the development process and imple- mentation plan for Vital Signs Monitoring in the SCPN.

1.1 NETWORK OVERVIEW The SCPN is composed of 19 parks located in northern Arizona, north- western , southwestern Colorado, and southern Utah (Figure 1-1). Most of the park units lie with- FIGURE 1-1. Overview of Southern Colorado Plateau Network park unit locations. in the southern Colorado Plateau ecoregion, but a few are allied with the Arizona-New Mexico designated or proposed as wilder- cultural resources. Three of the and Southern ness. While several park designations eighteen UNESCO Heritage ecoregions. The parks range in size include language to protect the asso- Sites in the are SCPN from 14 to more than 500,000 ciated natural resources (Table 1-1), parks—Chaco Culture and Aztec hectares (Table 1-1), with more than the majority of the SCPN parks Ruins as one unit, , 750,000 hectares within the network were designated primarily to protect and Verde (UNESCO 2002).

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Table 1-1. Establishment purpose and size of SCPN park units.

* NRA was established to “…provide for public outdoor recreation use of …” and to “…preserve the scenic, scientific, and historic features…of the area”. ** Recently approved boundary addition to Petrified Forest NP will bring the total area to 88,439 ha pending additional funding.

1.2 PURPOSE OF NETWORK working with other agencies, and The intent of ecological monitoring VITAL SIGNS MONITORING communicating with the public to is to track, through time, changes in protect park natural systems and the condition of particular resources 1.2.1 Justification and Role of native species. or in the status of indicators of eco- Monitoring logical integrity. This involves first Knowing the condition of natural Monitoring data help to define the establishing lengthy baselines in resources is fundamental to the normal limits of natural variation in order to understand the normal lim- National Park Service’s ability to park resources and provide a basis its of natural variation. Over the long manage park resources. National for understanding observed changes term, monitoring data will describe Park managers across the country are and possible management connec- trends in resource condition, provide confronted with increasingly complex tions. Understanding the dynamic a basis for judging what constitutes and challenging issues that require nature of park ecosystems and the impairment, identify when corrective broad-based understanding of the consequences of human activities is management actions may be status and trends of park resources essential for natural resource manage- required, and help evaluate their as a foundation for making decisions, ment decision-making (Figure 1-2). effectiveness. In order to achieve the

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INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND m y d o a r r r a f g . s ; w t m l o m t a u r a s s r g e p g o R e r o t . r s s P l P n a o M i i t M t i i & I & n d I i e n e e h o t h h c t t g e f e n r t i o u a d l t c u i u a l f r d c e n d n i v i e e r s s i S e s w c . e t o r d r n u r g e o a s n i m e d p e l n g o p l i a a t e l s n v e u e a x d m o m / r b h g o g f k n u i c l o a u n l r f n e h B s t a . l u s d p s e o e i k s l c l r p o a a r p e p p u r s t d a n e , n e b s a l l e l m , i e e d s g o w a a t m b n a a h n m t o e m i t / n t s g o a y i n t s i m o a n r c n e m o f a r l l n o a p i f u n e t e i c h p t e e n t c e n a i i n c c h i o s t c d i g n g w i n n i s i s t e l p w g u o o l s a t r e e s r r v l e a e a d h r d t e e d t , v t n g e o a s n i d s t r ; a t w o t t e n i i e n v n e e m o r e m g e m e g r a s a u n n t n a g a i a r s m e / l m t g i a l o t n t i i g n v n n i i n t n k a e e c l l e p a p b w k t m r d e o a e c b e p f s s e l a p l t i i a h h c c w s i u n g d s o n n , i i i s t r s n a o l g t w i e i s o n R l r o . r a t 2 a m i - v d 1 m g n r E n a e i R t t s - U c e g e x G l n I o e o F s l b

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temporal replication necessary to build institutional knowledge and trends in the condition of National measure trends through time, moni- to make the resulting information Park System resources”. The Act toring efforts are generally limited in more available and useful will have charges the Secretary of the Interior scope (selected resources or indica- a major effect on the Service’s ability to “assure the full and proper utiliza- tors) and spatial extent (selected to meet its mission and serve future tion of the results of scientific studies ecosystems or management areas). generations. The monitoring pro- for park management decisions”. A gram will also contribute to the summary of federal legislation and “Vital signs” are selected physical, DOI goals for management excel- policy related to the inventory and chemical, and biological elements lence by implementing practices that monitoring efforts can be found in or processes of park ecosystems promote efficiency, collaboration Appendix A. that represent the overall health or among programs and agencies, and condition of the park, known or accountability. The 2001 NPS Management Policies hypothesized effects of stressors, or updated previous policy and specifi- elements that have important human 1.2.2 LEGISLATION, POLICY cally directed that “natural systems values. Vital signs monitoring is a key AND GUIDANCE in the National Park System, and the component in the Service’s strategy to National Park managers are directed human influences upon them, will provide scientific data and information by federal law and National Park be monitored to detect change. The needed for management decision- Service policies and guidance to know Service will use the results of moni- making and education. Vital signs the status and trends in the condition toring and research to understand monitoring also contributes informa- of natural resources under their stew- the detected change and to develop tion needed to understand and to ardship in order to fulfill the NPS appropriate management actions”. measure performance regarding the mission of leaving these resources Along with national legislation, poli- condition of watersheds, landscapes, “unimpaired for the enjoyment of cy, and guidance, a park’s enabling and biological communities. future generations” (National Park legislation provides justification and, Service Organic Act, 1916). Congress in some cases, specific guidance for The Vital Signs Monitoring Program strengthened the National Park the direction and emphasis of is critical to achieving Mission Goals Service’s protective function and pro- resource management programs IA and IB of the National Park Service vided language important to recent including inventory and monitoring (NPS) Strategic Plan for FY2005- decisions about resource impairment (Appendix A). FY2008: when it amended the Organic Act in 1978 to state that “the protection, The Government Performance and Mission Goal Ia management, and administration of Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) man- Natural and cultural resources and these areas shall be conducted in dates that all federal agencies use associated values are protected, light of the high public value and Performance Management (i.e., restored, and maintained in good integrity of the National Park System measurable, results-oriented, goal- condition and managed within and shall not be exercised in deroga- driven planning and management) their broader ecosystem and cul- tion of the values and purposes for to accomplish their missions. To tural context. which these various areas have been implement this management system, established…”. the Results Act requires all agencies Mission Goal Ib to develop long-range Strategic The National Park Service con- More recently, the National Parks Plans, Annual Performance Plans, tributes to knowledge about Omnibus Management Act of 1998 and Annual Performance Reports. natural and cultural resources and established the framework for fully In addition to the national strategic associated values; management integrating natural resource monitor- goals, each park unit has a five-year decisions about resources and ing and other science activities into plan that includes specific park GPRA visitors are based on adequate the management processes of the goals (Table 1-2). Many of these scholarly and scientific information. National Park System. Section 5934 park-specific goals are directly related of the Act requires the Secretary of to natural resource monitoring The monitoring program’s emphasis the Interior to develop a program of needs. The I&M program reports on integration and coordination “inventory and monitoring of directly to two strategic planning across programs and agencies, and National Park System resources to goals (Goal 1b3A, Vital Signs the development of modern infor- establish baseline information and to Identification, and Goal 1b3B, Vital mation systems and practices to provide information on the long-term Signs Implementation), and provides

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Table 1-2. GPRA goals for SCPN parks. Only natural resource-related goals are included.

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data and information systems needed resources. Consequently, their per- into the ecological consequences of to report to several other Department spectives are important in defining change, and help decision-makers of Interior (DOI) goals. In FY2004, the goals, objectives, and long-term determine if observed change indi- land health goals relating to the vision for ecological monitoring. cates that a correction to condition of wetlands, riparian areas, management practices is needed upland areas, marine and coastal While setting monitoring goals and (Noon et al. 1999). areas, and mined lands were added objectives is dependent upon a con- to the national strategic goals. Vital sideration of environmental values, Servicewide Monitoring Goals signs monitoring of selected resources, the process of identifying cost-efficient The Servicewide I & M Program has in combination with resource assess- and reliable measures to meet stated developed the following long-term ments based on the best available objectives is a scientific exercise goals to comply with legal require- scientific information, will be used to (Barber 1994, Harwell et al. 1999; ments, fully implement NPS policy, report to these goals. Figure 1-3). In fact, inadequate and provide park managers with the grounding in ecological theory is data they need to understand and 1.3 MONITORING GOALS often cited as a reason for failure of manage park resources: AND VITAL SIGNS past environmental monitoring pro- SELECTION PROCESS grams (Noon et al. 1999). 1. Determine status and trends in selected indicators of park ecosys- 1.3.1 Introduction We anticipate that the process of tem conditions allowing managers Designing a long-term ecological developing a monitoring program to make better-informed decisions monitoring program to meet park will be iterative with successive and work more effectively with needs requires consideration of rounds of setting and prioritizing other agencies and individuals for diverse perspectives on the value and objectives, defining relevant ecosys- the benefit of park resources. condition of park natural resources tem attributes, modeling relationships and on potential threats to their con- between resources and stressors, 2. Provide early warning of abnormal tinued preservation. Park managers and identifying appropriate meas- conditions of selected resources to need to know the status and trends ures. We are seeking assistance from help develop effective mitigation associated with key resources, under- the scientific community to develop measures and reduce costs of stand effectiveness of management a firm ecological foundation for management. actions, and be given early warning monitoring and to identify relevant of impending resource threats. They and efficient monitoring measures. 3. Provide data that clarify the also realize that many resource con- A dialogue between park managers, dynamic nature and condition of cerns can only be addressed through agency scientists, and the wider sci- park ecosystems and provide refer- cooperative action with park neigh- entific community is critical to the ence points for comparisons with bors, local communities, and other success of this endeavor. It is the other altered environments. land management agencies. Timely role of park managers and agency access to credible, relevant data is scientists to create clearly stated 4. Provide data to meet certain legal key to successfully working outside monitoring goals and objectives that and Congressional mandates relat- of park boundaries. Scientists may reflect both the environmental values ed to natural resource protection value parks for research and as rela- underlying the NPS mission and our and visitor enjoyment. tively pristine reference sites that more proximate resource manage- are useful as points of comparison ment concerns. 5. Provide a means of measuring to more altered sites. Finally, park progress towards performance visitors bring a wide range of expecta- 1.3.2 Vital Signs Monitoring goals. tions and values that challenge park Program Goals managers to simultaneously meet The goals and objectives for moni- By adopting the Servicewide moni- varied recreational needs while pre- toring that we define frame our toring goals, certain aspects of the serving opportunities for viewing expectations and drive subsequent SCPN program scope and direction wildlife, exploring biodiversity, expe- steps in the conceptual design and become apparent. The program riencing solitude, or journeying into protocol development process. will include retrospective or effects- wilderness. Each of these groups Ultimately, monitoring data are oriented monitoring to detect has a role to play in the effective intended to detect long-term envi- changes in the status or condition stewardship of park natural ronmental change, provide insights of selected resources, predictive or

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stress-oriented monitoring to meet certain legal mandates (e.g., Clean Water Act), and effectiveness moni- toring to measure progress toward meeting performance goals (National Research Council 1995, Noon et al. 1999). The Servicewide goals also acknowledge the importance of seeking an understanding of inher- ent ecosystem variability in order to interpret human-caused change and recognize the potential role of NPS ecosystems as reference sites for more impaired systems. Given the long history of human use of Colorado Plateau landscapes, the lingering effects of past land use on current resource conditions, the paucity of long-term monitoring data in SCPN parks, and the strong role of climate as a driver of ecosystem dynamics, the SCPN will emphasize goals 1 and 3 in developing Vital Signs monitoring.

FIGURE 1-3. Relationships among societal goals, endpoints, and scientific 1.3.3 Ecological and Societal measures in ecological assessment and monitoring (modified from Harwell Goals for Monitoring et al. 1999). The Servicewide goals described above begin to define the scope of the monitoring program and its potential role within the larger realm phy, biotic interactions, energetics, monitoring efforts. We have adapted of natural resource management nutrient cycling) expected from natu- a suite of ecosystem characteristics activities. Together they represent the ral ecosystems of the region (Karr and developed by Harwell and others network’s program goals. A second, Dudley 1981, Karr 1991, 1996). An (1999) as a means to link the eco- but perhaps equally important step is ecosystem approach requires full con- logical goal of restoring and to define ecological and societal goals sideration of the geophysical template maintaining ecosystem integrity to for monitoring (Barber 1994, Harwell that supports the biota. Thus, abiotic structural and functional ecosystem et al. 1999, Gentile et al. 2001). components (e.g., soil resources) and attributes. Most of these characteris- processes (e.g., ) of ecosys- tics also relate directly to specific Assessment of Ecological tems also are encompassed within park management objectives (e.g., Integrity our definition of ecosystem integrity. restoring disturbed lands, controlling The concept of ecological integrity Our use of the concept of ecological invasive non-native species, main- provides an appropriate foundation integrity as an ecological goal is also taining sustainable populations of for assessing the state of ecological consistent with the draft DOI strategic at-risk species; Table 1-3). By identi- systems (Karr 1991, 1996, De Leo planning goals of ‘improving the fying ecosystem attributes during the and Levin 1997, Noon 2003). A sys- health of watersheds, landscapes and development of goals and objectives, tem with integrity may be defined as marine resources’ and ‘sustaining we explicitly acknowledge that their having the capacity to support and biological communities’ (U.S. selection reflects both ecological maintain a balanced, integrated, and Department of Interior 2003). importance and societal value (Figure adaptive community of organisms 1-3). A synthetic consideration of having the full range of biotic compo- The SCPN has adopted monitoring to these characteristics will provide an nents (genes, species, assemblages) assess ecological integrity as the overall assessment of the condition and processes (mutation, demogra- overarching theme of our long-term of park resources.

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Table 1-3. Management objectives relating to ecosystem integrity and associated ecosystem characteristics.

Assessment of Aesthetic Qualities may also be linked to ecological would severely limit the ability of Relating to Wildland Values integrity, they are considered here parks to monitor more than a few Over 750,000 hectares within SCPN because of their societal value. indicators. A key efficiency of the parks are designated or proposed as Monitoring to support wildland val- network approach is identification wilderness. Dark night skies, a hall- ues is the second important theme and monitoring of a core set of vital mark of southwestern landscapes, of the SCPN monitoring program. signs across a group of parks. In can still be found in many SCPN addition to increased efficiency, units. Predominantly natural sound- 1.3.4 Network Monitoring in applying standard monitoring scapes still occur but are becoming Relation to Other Efforts approaches across an ecoregion may rare. SCPN parks have identified also result in greater potential for qualities relating to human experi- Network Approach comparison and explanatory poten- ence of wildlands as important park Spreading available funding for vital tial in the resulting datasets. NPS resources. While qualities such as signs monitoring over all park units adopted the strategic approach of natural quiet and dark night skies with significant natural resources encouraging networks and parks to

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seek partnerships with federal, tribal and state agencies, and adjacent landowners to leverage monitoring funding. In an optimal situation, network monitoring would form the middle tier of an integrated monitor- ing framework, linking national and regional monitoring programs to park- specific needs and monitoring efforts.

SCPN and NCPN collaboration to monitor park ecosystems across the Colorado Plateau Parks across the Colorado Plateau have a history of working together on natural resource science and stewardship. Due to the fact that there are 35 parks on the plateau, a decision was made to divide the Colorado Plateau into two networks: the Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN) and the SCPN.

Parks within the two networks share many resource concerns and issues and have established similar monitor- ing priorities. In FY2003, the NCPN

and SCPN Technical Advisory FIGURE 1-4. Flow-chart of SCPN workplan to select and monitor vital signs. Committees decided that the two networks would work collaboratively toward developing protocols to meet common monitoring needs. This scope of the monitoring program major Colorado Plateau ecosystems. alignment is fully supported and was defined, the existing information These initial steps were essential in preferred by the Colorado Plateau base was reviewed, and the most developing a preliminary list of vital Natural Resources Advisory Team, important park resources, resource signs, some of which applied broadly which advises managers on the concerns, and stressors were across ecosystems, while others Colorado Plateau on natural described using the resource/issues applied to particular ecosystems or resources coordination, and by the database (Support Document A). We resource-stressor relationships. Colorado Plateau-Cooperative also identified key characteristics of Ecosystem Studies Unit Research ecosystem integrity in a top-down The most difficult phase in vital signs Coordinator. In FY2004 the SCPN approach. We first identified signifi- selection involved evaluating and pri- and NCPN began developing com- cant ecosystems, then reviewed the oritizing among potential vital signs. mon workplans and coordinating scientific literature, developed the During the winter and spring of protocol development efforts. ecological context for park resources, 2004, we held a series of seven and evaluated the rarity and vulnera- topical workshops to identify and 1.3.5 Vital Signs Selection bility of particular ecosystems. During evaluate candidate vital signs Process 2003 and 2004, we solicited advice (Appendix G). Each workshop was from the scientific community con- undertaken with similar objectives Identification and Selection cerning key ecosystem attributes and used consistent techniques and of Network Vital Signs within particular systems. We also established evaluation criteria. The The general process we used to worked collaboratively with USGS and workshops were attended by more select vital signs is summarized in university scientists and the NCPN to than 65 experts from NPS, cooperat- Figure 1-4. In 2003, the purpose and develop conceptual models for four ing agencies, private organizations,

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and the academic community. In Air Quality Monitoring country as Class II areas. The majority May of 2004, a two-day selection The primary purpose of the Clean of air quality monitoring in the SCPN workshop was held to review the Air Act is to provide ambient air network occurs in the four Class I topical workshop results and deter- quality standards that protect parks (Table 1-4). Several Class II areas mine the core and secondary human health. Secondary standards have also had limited visibility and network vital signs. This workshop were also set to protect the “nation- ozone monitoring in the past. was attended by members of the al welfare,” which is broadly defined SCPN Science Advisory Committee, to include parks and natural areas. Visibility has been monitored as part Technical Advisory Committee, Board Amendments to the Clean Air Act in of the Interagency Monitoring of of Directors and SCPN staff. See 1977 added the “prevention of sig- Protected Visual Environments Chapter 3 for more detail. nificant deterioration” (PSD) section, (IMPROVE) network since 1986. Every which charges federal land manage- IMPROVE site deploys aerosol sam- 1.3.6 Integration of Air and ment agencies “to preserve, protect, plers to measure fine aerosols and Water Quality Monitoring and enhance the air quality in particulate matter. Light extinction In addition to developing a unique national parks, national wilderness and light scattering are measured at set of vital signs, I&M networks are areas, national monuments, national select sites, and automatic camera coordinating with the Air and Water seashores, and other areas of special systems are also deployed. Resources Divisions of the National national or regional natural, recre- Park Service to integrate existing and ational, scenic, or historic value” Other air quality parameters moni- planned air and water quality moni- (42 U.S.C. Sec. 7470). tored as part of nationwide efforts toring with the broader vital signs include: deposition of nitrogen and monitoring program. The Air and Four SCPN park units (BAND, GRCA, sulfur compounds in rain and snow Water Resources Divisions will provide MEVE, and PEFO) are rated as Class I (wet deposition) as part of the guidance with respect to monitoring under the Clean Air Act (CAA) of National Atmospheric Deposition protocols in order to standardize pro- 1970 as amended in 1990. Class I Program/National Trends Network cedures nationwide. The following designations apply to national parks, (NADP/NTN), deposition of nitrogen sections provide a brief summary of national wilderness areas, and nation- and sulfur compounds in dryfall (dry air and water quality monitoring in al monuments that are granted special deposition) as part of the Clean Air SCPN park units. Detailed descrip- air quality protection under section Status and Trends Network (CASTnet), tions of these programs can be found 162 (a) of the Act. Congress designat- ozone as part of the NPS Gaseous in Appendices B and C. ed all other “clean” air regions of the Pollutant Monitoring Network

Table 1-4. Current and past air quality monitoring in SCPN parks. Current monitoring programs are indicated by the letter C; past monitoring programs by the letter P. Class I park names are in bold. A database of current and past air quality monitoring can be found at http://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/monitoring/MonHist/index.cfm.

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(GPMN), and mercury deposition as partnering with USGS/WRD to syn- contamination and/or land use prac- part of the National Atmospheric thesize electronically available water tices. While there are currently no Deposition Program/Mercury quality data for SCPN parks and designated Outstanding Natural Deposition Network (NADP/MDN). completing water resource scoping Resource Waters within SCPN parks, and data mining in all SCPN parks to monitoring to support the identifica- Water Quality Monitoring identify monitoring needs (Appendix tion of relatively pristine waters is a The NPS Natural Resource Challenge C). In FY2004, the network contin- secondary priority. (NRC) provides funding for water ued funding of the USGS/WRD water quality monitoring within NPS units. quality data synthesis (to be complet- Ideally, the choice of vital signs for The purpose is to track the attain- ed in FY2005). NPS/WRD provided our network will reflect the unifying ment of the Service’s long-term the USGS/WRD additional funding to characteristics of network parks as water quality strategic goal of signifi- conduct Level 1 baseline water-quali- well as those features and processes cantly reducing pollution in park ty inventories of 57 key water bodies endemic to Southern Colorado water bodies. Specifically, the goal in 13 SCPN units during CY05. Plateau Network park units. In the was for 85% of park units to have Preliminary analysis of data available next sections, we present the region- unimpaired water quality by through the water quality data syn- al ecological context shared by SCPN September 30, 2005. The NPS is thesis and the Level 1 water quality park units as well as brief descrip- also committed to preserving exist- ing pristine water quality in parks, including waters classified as Table 1-5. Impaired waters included on Section 303(d) list1. Outstanding National Resource Waters (ONRW’s) or state-equivalent listed waters. As part of this initia- tive, the NPS Water Resources Division is providing each network with funds to conduct water resource monitoring and assist in achieving several NPS objectives:

• Protection of designated uses which involve 303(d)-listed waters, Outstanding Natural Resource Waters, or other designated water- bodies under provisions of the 1 Sources are 2004 Integrated 305(b) Assessment and 303(d) Listing Report for Arizona and 2004- Clean Water Act. 2006 State of New Mexico Integrated Clean Water Act 303(d)/305(b) Report Water Quality and • Documentation of water quality Water Pollution Control in New Mexico. parameters that are vulnerable to alteration from various sources of contamination or land use practices. inventory indicate that water quality tions of important resources and • Establishment of water quality conditions exceeding established concerns identified by individual park parameters useful for indicating USEPA and State standards exist for managers. These descriptions will ecosystem integrity of particular various constituents at many SCPN provide the backdrop for the presen- water resources. parks. These projects, in conjunction tation of SCPN vital signs. • Establishment of baseline with existing information sources, conditions. are providing a sound basis for iden- 1.4 ECOLOGICAL CONTEXT tifying and prioritizing long-term SCPN parks encompass almost 1.2 The selection of water quality vital water quality monitoring needs. million hectares of land area, span signs and implementation of water 374 kilometers from east to west, resource monitoring for SCPN parks The first priorities for water quality 218 kilometers from north to south, is being fully integrated into the monitoring within SCPN parks are and cover 2.7 kilometers of vertical three-phase network planning 303(d)-listed waters (Table 1-5) and relief. In this section we introduce process. In FY2003, SCPN water waters that are vulnerable to alter- key physical and biotic qualities that quality monitoring efforts included: ation from various sources of characterize the Colorado Plateau

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FIGURE 1-5. Map of SCPN park units and corresponding ecoregion subunits.

and may serve as drivers, state fac- boundaries more closely tied to The non-profit organization tors, and/or interactive controls of vegetation cover types defined by NatureServe in conjunction with Colorado Plateau ecosystems. the U.S. National Vegetation state natural heritage programs has Describing the range of physical and Classification (Grossman et al. adopted the concept of ecological biotic variation across the network 1998), physiographic units, and systems as a basis for finer scale sets the stage for conceptual models ecological processes (Groves et al. landscape classifications. “Ecological described in Chapter 2. 2000, Comer et al. 2003). The systems represent recurring groups ecological hierarchy consists of of biological communities that are 1.4.1 Landscape Classification Domains, Divisions, Provinces, and found in similar physical environ- In recent years, the concept of Sections (in decreasing spatial scale) ments and are influenced by similar ecoregions has emerged as the most described by similarities in 1) poten- dynamic ecological processes, such useful land-classification system for tial natural communities, 2) soils, as fire or flooding,” (Comer et al. supporting sustainable resource 3) hydrological function, 4) topog- 2003). The goal of defining ecologi- management practices (Bailey 1995, raphy and landforms, 5) lithology, cal systems was to complement the 1998). The Nature Conservancy 6) climate, 7) air quality, and 8) National Vegetation Classification, (TNC) has developed a classification ecological processes (Cleland et al. while creating finer scale mapable of ecological systems which builds 1997). Park units within the SCPN units using a combination of on the regionalization, classification, belong to three provinces within communities, soils, environmental and mapping system of the National the Dry Domain: Colorado Plateau, conditions, and ecological processes. Hierarchical Framework of Terrestrial Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, A summary of potential ecological Ecological Units (ECOMAP 1993) and the systems in the SCPN park units can while making the ecoregional (Figure 1-5). be found in Table D1, Appendix D.

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1.4.2 Elevation Mountainous regions with wide altitudinal range and topographic complexity present a special case in landscape classification. Altitude affects climate in a manner similar to latitude and results in altitudinal zonation. SCPN park units have large topographic variability (Table D2, Appendix D). Due to the elevation gradient, vegetation communities in the SCPN range from lowland, sparsely vegetated to transi- tional woodland zones to sub-alpine vegetation (Betancourt 1990). This extreme variability is associated with discontinuous envi- ronmental gradients that present significant challenges to the design and implementation of field-based Summer monsoon thunderstorms provide an important source of precipitation. monitoring. PHOTO BY MARK WEISSINGER

1.4.3 Climate weakens from southeast to north- multidecadal cycle and affects pre- Bailey (1995, 1998) describes climate west, and the northwestern one- cipitation and climate on the as a prime controlling factor for third of the Plateau is dominated by southern Plateau (Wang 1995, Wang ecosystem distribution. The Colorado winter precipitation (Figure 1-6). A and Ropelewski 1995, Trenberth Plateau region lies in a zone of arid- shift between these two climatic 1997, Mantua and Hare 2002). temperate climates characterized by regions may contribute to high inter- ENSO tends to bring wet winters and periods of drought and irregular seasonal and inter-annual variability increased stream flow to the SCPN precipitation, relatively warm to hot in precipitation in the SCPN region area through southerly displacement growing seasons, and long winters (Ehleringer et al. 1999). From of storm tracks. Strong ENSO events with sustained periods of freezing November to March, the dominant will increase the variability of precipi- temperatures (Hunt 1967). Much weather patterns on the southern tation in the warm season and the of the moisture from precipitation, Plateau include precipitation from frequency of precipitation in the at 10-25 cm per year in many Pacific region storms. December and cool-season (Trenberth 1997), and SCPN locations (Montgomery and January tend to experience spatially- these events can greatly affect sur- Harshbarger 1992), is lost through heterogeneous precipitation strongly face , soil moisture, perennial evaporation due to nearly vertical influenced by elevation, while trends stream flow, and noontime solar position, clear skies, in February and March show an recharge (Hereford et al. 2002). and dry, thin, high-elevation air overall increase in precipitation on Opposite ENSO cycles are La Niña (Durrenberger 1972). the Plateau. By May, drier conditions events typified by normal to relatively again prevail and last until late June low warm-season precipitation and A broad boundary that coincides when monsoonal circulation begins drier than normal winters (Hereford with the mean northwestern extent to gain strength (Mock 1996). Wet et al. 2002). At irregular intervals of summer monsoonal precipitation summer monsoons (characterized by (about every 3 years), usually patterns divides the Colorado longer periods of heavy rainfall) tend between mid-August and October, a Plateau into two climatic regions to follow dry winters and vice versa major tropical storm moves up the (Petersen 1994; Figure 1-6). (Higgins et al. 1998). from off the Approximately two-thirds of the Baja peninsula. These events are of Plateau (including SCPN park units) The El Nino Southern Oscillation considerable biological significance lies southeast of this climatic bound- (ENSO) is a weak, seasonal warm, as they can produce high levels of ary. The magnitude of the summer south-flowing current off the coast precipitation from September to precipitation maximum generally of Peru that occurs in a 4-7 year or October, corresponding to the period

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The Plateau’s episodic, slow uplifting resulted in the development of numerous structural features, such as basins, , upwarps and uplifts, blocks, salt structures, igneous domal uplifts, and interme- diate structures (Hunt 1974a). Water-related erosion events have resulted in most of the depositional and topographical makeup of the modern Colorado Plateau (Ellwood 1996). As regional uplift occurred, streams cut through over- steepened strata, exposing geologic layers dating to the Pre-Cambrian Era (Crampton 1964, Hunt 1974b). Subsequent erosion and of the region’s resistant and created scarps and FIGURE 1-6. Map of average annual precipitation for SCPN park units. steep-walled . The of the region, however, were created when warm-season grasses tend to that overlook the more broken and by rapid erosion of relatively soft disperse seed (Spence 2001). While divided landscape of the Basin and (Ellwood 1996). climate patterns on the Colorado Range geologic province, while its Plateau are heterogeneous (Mock northern and eastern boundaries are Soil types on the Colorado Plateau 1996), SCP weather stations reveal bordered by the Rocky Mountains vary due to the influences of parent general patterns: 1) precipitation province (Durrenberger 1972). material, climate, biotic communi- decreases from high elevations to metamorphic rocks ties, and geomorphic processes of low elevations, and 2) summer form the geologic basement of the the region. Soil types range from precipitation decreases from the Plateau, and periodic flooding by badlands composed of marine southeastern portion of the Plateau seas deposited a sequence shales, small areas of colluvium to the northwest (Table D3 & Figure of sedimentary limestones, sand- collected next to cliffs, sand dunes, D1, Appendix D). stones, and shales over the loess-covered tablelands, and fine- basement rock. Volcanic eruptions textured alluvium along rivers and 1.4.4 Landforms and Geology during the era covered washes (West and Young 2000). Soils Park units within the SCPN fall within parts of the Plateau with igneous of the Plateau are predominantly three geologic provinces of the material and volcanic ash. Miocene alkaline, except in mountainous United States, the Colorado Plateau, uplifting raised the region more than areas where greater precipitation Rocky Mountains, and Basin and 2 kilometers. Geologic stresses rates and abundance of organic Range (Thornbury 1965, Hunt 1967, associated with this period of uplift material results in acidic soils. In 1974a); however, our discussion of caused widespread faulting in the some places, the dominant pedo- geology focuses primarily on the but left genic process is calcification, while most dominant province in the the sedimentary formations of the salinization is dominant on poorly region, the Colorado Plateau. Colorado Plateau relatively intact drained sites. Overall, the most (Thornbury 1965). Sedimentary commonly found soil orders in the The 388,000 square kilometer rocks forming the Plateau vary in age Southern Colorado Plateau parks Plateau rises to elevations of from the Precambrian to the include Entisols, Aridisols, Mollisols, approximately 1,525 meters near (Hunt 1974b, Ellwood 1996). Young Alfisols, and Inceptisols. the western margins and climbs to (Tertiary) rocks are exposed in basins heights in excess of 3,350 meters at on the northeast side of the Plateau, 1.4.5 Hydrologic and the eastern boundaries (Ellwood whereas outcrops of older rocks are Hydrogeologic Regimes 1996). In the west and southwest, the found along the southwestern rim More than nine-tenths of surface Plateau breaks off into (Durrenberger 1972). water on the Plateau drains to the

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Colorado River, which drops from the Rocky Mountains, dissects the Plateau, and exits at the Grand Canyon on its route to the Sea of Cortez. Major to the Colorado include the Green River (draining from the north), the San Juan River (draining from the east), and the (drain- ing from the southeast). Four SCPN parks are east of the Continental Divide, draining to the . Portions of the Colorado, San Juan, and Little Colorado Rivers, and the Rio Grande are located within or bordering various SCPN park units. Most of the smaller streams in SCPN parks, including those on volcanic formations, have intermittent and perennial sections, and flow rarely extends far from the foot of the mountains even when flooded. When crossing drier, lower elevations Uinta-Animas, the Tertiary and upper of the Plateau, perennial streams Cretaceous Mesa Verde, the late tend to lose a great deal of water Cretaceous to Triassic Dakota-Glen to seepage through streambeds and Canyon, the Coconino- evaporation (Hunt 1974b). Riparian DeChelly, and the Mississippian and areas provide important corridors late Cambrian Redwall-Muav for flora and fauna of the region . Natural discharge from (Benson and Darrow 1981). aquifers delivers water back to the surface via streams, springs, seeps, Groundwater storage is limited and and other emergent wetlands temporal in a variety of perched (Cowardin et al. 1979) for use by the aquifers of the SCPN region, but is and animals of SCPN parks. much greater in deep and extensive sandstone and limestone aquifer sys- 1.4.6 Vegetation tems (Montgomery and Harshbarger Evolution of flora and vegetation 1992). Fractures and secondary patterns in the SCPN region has openings in Paleozoic and volcanic been impacted by the climate rocks of the SCPN region, particu- change caused by the uplift of the larly faults, provide zones of large plateau (Ruddiman and Kutzbach permeability allowing for lateral 1991, Adams and 1997) and vertical movement of water and by the great range of elevation (Huntoon 1982, Montgomery and (Daubenmire 1943). The extent of Harshbarger 1992, Flynn and Bills elevational displacement and distri- 2002). Mountain snowmelt and rain- bution of vegetation types found in fall seeps into aquifers through sand the region is due to a combination (top) Spring run-off flows through Chaco and gravel near the edges of basins, of climate, interactions between Wash, an intermittent stream supporting under normally dry washes, and via species, and parent geologic mate- gallery cottonwood trees at Chaco Culture sub-surface flow through fractures rial. The Colorado Plateau region National Historical Park. beneath mountains (Leake et al. supports one of the highest levels of (above) Perennial flow supports a thin band 2000). Principal aquifers found in endemism in the U.S., with about of riparian vegetation in Stevens Canyon, this region are the lower Tertiary 10% of the 3,000-3,500 plant Glen Canyon . PHOTOS BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS

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species estimated to be endemic species are endemic (Bogan et al. (Shultz 1990). Many of these species 1998), and many of those are threat- are either federally listed or other- ened or endangered. Riparian wise rare. corridors are important migratory and breeding habitats for birds, Vegetation on the Colorado Plateau many of which use this habitat exclu- consists mainly of open-woodlands sively (Knopf and Sampson 1994). of drought-adapted conifers on the Cooler, high elevation forests are high rims with extensive areas of also important refuges for several xeric shrubs and grasses on the species of birds, small mammals lower interior regions (Durrenberger (including the endemic Stephen’s 1972). At the highest elevations, sig- woodrat [Neotoma stephensi relicta]), nificant communities of ponderosa and at least one endemic amphibian, pine, mixed conifer forests, and sub- the Jemez Mountains salamander alpine forests occur, especially at (Plethodon neomexicanus). Grand Canyon National Park and Populations of large ungulates and Bandelier National Monument. Due carnivores in mountain forests were to freezing temperatures in the win- once driven to low numbers by hunt- ter, large succulents that characterize ing and trapping. With the help of subtropical and warm-temperate reintroductions, most of these regions are generally absent. The species have made a comeback to arid-humid boundary lies at a high the area. Grasslands and shrublands elevation of 2,700 meters on the in the area are also home to a large central portion of the Colorado number of (Drost and Plateau (Spence 2001), although it is Deshler 1995), birds, and important somewhat lower (ca. 2,500 meters) keystone herbivores like the to the southwest on the Kaibab (top) A (Ovis American pronghorn (Antilocapra canadensis nelsoni) ewe and lamb Plateau. Above this elevation, small americana) and the Gunnison’s scramble up a boulder at Grand areas of conifer forests and montane Canyon National Park. prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). and subalpine meadows are found. PHOTO BY MARK WEISSINGER A few small patches of alpine tundra (above) The American pronghorn In contrast to the vertebrate popula- occur on the tops of some of the (Antilocapra americana) roams the tions, invertebrates of the region have higher peaks, although none occur grasslands of the Colorado Plateau. a relatively high level of endemism NPS ARCHIVE in SCPN park units. (Mac et al. 1998). Hydrophilic species dominate the federal T&E lists (Mac et Portions of six floristic provinces al. 1998), and scarcity of water and occur in and adjacent to SCPN park and vegetation of this region sensitivity to contaminants seem to units. These are the Colorado include: Reveal (1979), Brown limit the distribution of crustaceans Plateau, , southern Rocky (1982), Axelrod and Raven (1985), and mollusks to springs and undevel- Mountains, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, McLaughlin (1986), Barbour and oped water systems (Arizona Game and Madrean provinces (McLaughlin Billings (1988), McLaughlin (1989), and Fish Department 2001). In addi- 1989, McLaughlin 1992, Brown Dick-Peddie and Hubbard (1977), tion, the southwest as a whole 1994). The majority of vegetation and McLaughlin and Bowers (1999). supports a high diversity of and occurring in SCPN parks is character- (Powell 1995). ized by Plateau assemblages. Other 1.4.7 Fauna vegetative influences include The vertebrate biota of the Colorado 1.4.8 Fire Regimes Chihuahuan (ELMO, ELMA, and Plateau is in many ways impover- Except for climate, fire has probably SAPU), southern Rocky Mountain ished compared to surrounding had the largest single impact in (MEVE and BAND), and Madrean areas. Distribution of all vertebrate shaping the of the southern (WACA). Grand Canyon has a large species in this arid region is limited Colorado Plateau (Allen 2002, Mojavean (or Sonoran, using by water availability and water-relat- Grissino-Mayer et al. 2004). Prior to McLaughlin’s classification) element. ed vegetation diversity. Sixty-four European settlement, fires would Major studies discussing the flora percent of the Colorado River fish often burn for months and cover

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thousands of acres (Swetnam 1990, Swetnam and Baisan 1996). Table 1-6. Average pre-European fire frequencies in Ponderosa Pine forests burned every southwestern biotic communities. 2 to 30 years as low-intensity, area- wide fires. With greater moisture levels but heavier fuel loads, spruce-fir forests burned much less frequently but at high, stand-replacing intensity (Veblen et al. 1994, Grissino-Mayer et al. 1995). The Mesa Verde pinyon- juniper woodlands have historically experienced severe fire events that killed most aboveground vegetation, while other SCPN forests experienced frequent, low intensity, fires. Research by Weaver (1951), Cable (1975), Dieterich (1980, 1983), Grissino– Mayer et al. (1995), Moore et al. (1999), Floyd et al. (2000), Allen (2002), Allen et al. (2002), Fule et al. (1997, 2002), and Baker and been infrequent, but high-intensity in relational database was used to Shinneman (2004) was used to the spruce-fir forest, so suppression allow park resource managers to establish a range of pre-settlement efforts there had minimal effect. rank the importance of particular fire frequencies for southwestern resources or issues for their parks communities (Table 1-6). 1.5 NATURAL RESOURCES, (Support Document A). The database RESOURCE CONCERNS, format allowed us to summarize Fire regimes (Table 1-6) changed AND ISSUES OF SCPN PARKS significant natural resources and dramatically with the coming of important resource concerns in sev- European and American settlers 1.5.1 Review of Planning eral different ways. Most importantly, (Weaver 1951, Covington and Documents and Management it allowed for network-wide compari- Moore 1994a, Swetnam and Baisan Interviews son without loss of detail. 1996, Swetnam and Betancourt An essential step in the process of 1998, Romme et al. 2003). Livestock selecting vital signs for a network of SCPN staff assigned preliminary scores removed grassy fuels that carried 19 NPS units was to determine the based on the previously gathered frequent, surface fires; and most important priorities for moni- information. To confirm and refine and trails fragmented the continuity toring at individual parks. Network these scores, each park reviewed the of forest fuels, contributing to fur- staff used several sources of informa- scores and park-specific information ther reductions in fire frequency tion to summarize the priority in each category during an I&M and size (Covington and Moore resources, stressors, and resource Workshop held in Farmington, NM, 1994b). Fires that did break out concerns for network parks: surveys April 1-3, 2003. The short summaries were suppressed by settlers and of park staffs about stressors affect- provided below capture the most fuels accumulated. By the early ing park resources, review of park important topics that emerged from 1900s, fire exclusion began altering planning documents, and interviews the ranking process. forest structure and fire regimes. of park superintendents (Support Forests with historically frequent, Document B). The information gath- 1.5.2 Summary of Key low-intensity fires were those initially ered through these sources was Resources most affected (Arno and Ottmar summarized in the park narratives 1994, Covington and Moore 1994a). (Appendix E). Surface Water Resources Woodland, Ponderosa pine, and Intermittent and ephemeral drier mixed conifer forests shifted The next step in the process was to water sources include washes, from a fire regime of frequent, consolidate and compare collected runoff channels and arroyos, and surface fires to stand-replacing, information to determine the com- other water sources such as tinajas, high-intensity fires. Fire had already monalities among SCPN parks. A potholes, and water pockets

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(depressions in rock which collect ( et al. 1995). Wetland and and retain rainfall). Washes and riparian habitats in the southwest arroyos in arid ecosystems can have contribute to floral diversity and pro- relatively high sub-surface moisture mote resident and migratory faunal levels (Ludwig and Whitford 1981) diversity (Pase and Layser 1977). and support distinct vegetation com- Springs are numerous in some SCPN munities from surrounding uplands park units and rare in others (Krausman et al. 1985). These water (Appendix C), and they provide sources are often characterized by important sources (sometimes the high biological diversity and provide only perennial source) of water. important pathways for species dis- Seeps are less well-known in SCPN persal (Domingo et al. 2000). parks, but are found in many parks, notably CHCU and WACA. Most primary water sources in SCPN parks are intermittent or ephemeral Tinajas are defined as large rock in nature (Appendix C). These sources depressions associated with drainages typically flow only as a result of spring or channels. Tinajas are differentiated runoff or in response to rainfall from water pockets and potholes by events. Washes and arroyos occur in their association with drainages, their virtually all SCPN park units with ability to hold water year-round varying degrees of intermittent or (except in extreme drought), and the ephemeral flow, and some provide presence of obligate phreatophytes the only available sources of flowing (plants whose roots extend down- water within each park. Potholes, ward to the water table). Tinajas tend catchments, and prehistoric impound- to sustain distinctive wetland commu- ments are known to occur in CACH, nities (Spence and Henderson 1993). ELMA, ELMO, GLCA, GRCA, MEVE, While no comprehensive survey of PEFO, SUCR, and WUPA. tinajas exists for the SCPN units, they are known to occur at GLCA and Perennial streams and rivers are GRCA, and likely occur at CACH, rare on the Colorado Plateau. Where CHCU, and NAVA. they do occur, rivers and streams provide increased biodiversity, habi- Unique or Sensitive Habitats or tat for threatened and endangered Vegetation Communities species, and a reliable source of This category encompasses several water. Major rivers or streams that habitats and vegetation types that are flow through or adjacent to SCPN rare, supply high rates of biodiversity, Rain filled tinajas provide an impor- tant water source amidst the slickrock parks include the Colorado River support rare or endemic species, or rims of Canyon de Chelly National (GRCA, GLCA), (AZRU), are high quality examples of a region- Monument. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS Rio Grande (BAND), Mancos River ally rare or at-risk community. Unique (MEVE), Little Colorado River SCPN vegetation communities (WUPA), and several other tributaries include, but are not necessarily limited of the Colorado River which flow to: wetland/riparian communities, through GLCA and GRCA. Smaller high quality grasslands, cinder or perennial creeks also flow through lava flow communities, relict or BAND, CACH, NAVA, and RABR. old-growth forest communities, sagebrush shrublands, and , clay Seeps and springs support wetland barren, and gypsum communities. and riparian habitats ranging from hanging gardens to cottonwood Dominant Vegetation stands. Hanging gardens have been Communities found to sustain many Colorado This category includes those vegeta- Plateau endemic plant species tion types that make up a large

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percentage of a park’s area, thus having a major effect on wildlife species, fire regimes, soils, and ecosystem structure and function within a park. Based on preliminary data, Table D4, Appendix D esti- mates the percentage of park area occupied by each vegetation type. Dominant vegetation types in the SCPN region include pinyon-juniper woodlands, Ponderosa pine forests, sagebrush communities, saltbush shrublands, blackbrush shrublands, and .

Ecosystem Structure and Function Ecosystem structure is the static aspects of an ecosystem, and ecosys- tem function can be thought of as the dynamic aspects of the ecosys- tem (Noy-Meir 1985). This category includes, but is not limited to, ecosystem characteristics such as park staff, 17 taxa with ESA status nutrient cycling, productivity, succes- are considered to occur in SCPN sion, water relationships, natural parks (Table D5; Appendix D). There disturbance, diversity of communities are 6 bird species, 4 fish species, 1 and habitats, and intact food chains invertebrate species, and 6 vascular (including top carnivores). plant species.

Specific examples of ecosystem Species and Communities of integrity in SCPN parks include the Special Interest absence of non-native amphibians, Faunal species and communities reptiles, and fishes from MEVE of special interest include species waterways; biological diversity that and communities that are locally includes five of the seven life zones rare, not federally or state listed, and three of the four deserts in important contributors to ecosystems, North America at GRCA; and intact possible indicators of ecosystem con- watershed systems at BAND. dition, and/or charismatic species. Most SCPN parks listed at least one Threatened and Endangered faunal species or community of Species special interest (e.g., endemic small Like all federal agencies, the National mammals, large mammals, neotropi- Park Service is required by the cal migratory birds, amphibians, and Endangered Species Act (ESA) to invertebrates). conserve endangered and threatened (top) Tuckup Canyon, Grand Canyon National species and their critical habitats and Floral species of special interest Park. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS to avoid any actions that might jeop- include plant species which are locally (above) Brilliant scarlet gilias bloom in a unique ardize their survival. The Park Service rare, endemic or of management habitat of black volcanic cinders, extends this responsibility to protect- concern, and not federally or state National Monument. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS ing federal candidate, state-listed, listed. At least one plant species of and state-candidate species. Based special interest occurs in 15 of the on information in the national NPS SCPN parks. Many of the floral database NPSpecies and provided by species of concern in SCPN parks are

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endemics (e.g., Sunset Crater penste- mon [Penstemon clutei] and Palace milkvetch [Astragalus deterio]).

Clear Skies with Low Pollution There are two components to air resources: clear skies allowing for good visibility (both at day and night) and low pollution. The FY2004 GPRA report for air quality (http://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/who /GPRA/GPRA2004review02042005. pdf) found that during the period 1994-2003, ozone increased signifi- cantly at GRCA and MEVE; nitrate and ammonium in precipitation increased significantly at BAND; and visibility degraded significantly on hazy days at PEFO and MEVE. In 2005, ozone concentrations exceeded EPA’s air quality standard on one occasion.

Wilderness and Natural Areas Six SCPN parks have some level of wilderness status (Table D6, Appendix D), and several more may attain status in the near future. Park Service policy is to manage recom- mended and potential wilderness lands as if they were designated wilderness. Wilderness-related val- ues, such as dark night skies, natural quiet, scenic vistas, and opportunities for solitude, also exist in parks which do not have designated wilderness. In a recent paper by the National Parks and Conservation Association (1999), 82% of Intermountain Region park units consider night skies an important resource. SCPN parks with high quality night skies include BAND, CHCU, ELMO, GLCA, MEVE, NAVA, and WUPA.

The natural soundscape is a resource (top) Wide unpolluted skies are a hallmark of SCPN parks, considered to be of value to human Petrified Forest National Park. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS visitors; however, there is a growing (above) Biological soil crusts amid pinyon-juniper woodlands, body of evidence indicating that El Morro National Monument. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS wildlife species are also impacted by noise intrusions into the natural soundscape (Radle 2003). SCPN parks with significant natural

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soundscape resources include CHCU, quality, and support human health following cases: 1) 24% of the total GLCA, GRCA, NAVA, and WUPA. and habitation (Jaenicke 1998). Soil acreage at GLCA may be infested Opportunities for visitors to experi- functions also include regulating with invasive plant species; 2) exten- ence solitude and scenic vistas are water flow and storage, cycling of sive infestations of tamarisk comprise also important resources. As human plant nutrients and other elements, most of the vegetative cover along population density increases and filtering water and air (USDA- the Colorado River corridor and throughout the Southwest, SCPN NRCS Soil Quality Institute 2001). Of dominate much of the length of park units offer relief from crowding the natural agents which affect arche- many side canyons (National Park and increasing noise and light pollu- ological resources, erosion caused by Service 2002); and 3) cheatgrass tion for both human visitors and wind, water, and temperature are (Bromus tectorum) constitutes 85% faunal populations. among the leading causes of resource of the dominant understory at YUHO. loss (Nickens 1991), indicating that Effects of non-native species invasions Unfragmented Landscapes preserving soil quality is important to can include major changes in commu- Unfragmented landscapes refer to preserving cultural resources. nity composition (Bock et al. 1986), large tracts of land with little or no competitive displacement of native partitioning due to roads, fences, Closely related to soil resources are species, and alterations in ecosystem trails, or other facilities. Habitat frag- biological soil crusts composed of characteristics such as disturbance mentation can lead to decreased cyanobacteria, algae, microfungi, regimes (Hughes et al. 1991, patch size, higher edge-to-interior , and . They provide a D’Antonio and Vitousek 1992, Mack ratios, increased patch isolation, and crucial function in nutrient cycling, and D’Antonio 1998) and soil-resource variation of connectivity between soil stability, and water infiltration regimes (Vitousek et al. 1987, patches (Saunders et al. 1991). Larger and retention in arid systems (Loope Vitousek 1990, et al. 2001). SCPN parks such as GRCA, BAND, and Gifford 1972, Bailey et al. MEVE, and ELMA preserve large ele- 1973, Rychert and Skujine 1974, Park staff identified numerous ments of their broader landscapes in Brotherson and Rushforth 1983, invasive plant species as being of relatively undisturbed and unfrag- Harper and Marble 1988, West and particular concern because of their mented condition. These parks are Young 2000). Biological soil crusts current rates of increase and signifi- refugia for rare, threatened or endan- may form more than 70% of the liv- cance (Table D7, Appendix D). Several gered plant and animal species, and ing ground cover on the Colorado of the most commonly cited species- large carnivores. Roadless areas have Plateau (Belnap 1990). of-concern impact riparian, wetland, also been shown to be refugia for and aquatic ecosystems that are the native plants, and, depending on 1.5.3 Summary of Key most resource-rich environments in other site conditions, deterrents to Stressors/Resource Concerns the arid land SCPN parks (e.g., salt spread of non-native invasive The SCPN network is differentiating cedar [ spp.] and Russian olive (Gelbard and Harrison 2003). Small stressors and resource concerns by [Elaeagnus angustifolia]). parks, such as WACA and YUHO, the specificity of factors impacting may function as important wildlife natural resources. Stressors are Rangeland and Forestland corridors for large carnivores. anthropogenic factors that are out- Management on Adjacent Lands side the range of disturbances Livestock grazing can impact species Soil and Soil Quality naturally experienced by the ecosys- composition, function, and structure Soils in arid to semi-arid ecosystems, tem (Whitford 2002). We use the of ecosystems (Fleischner 1994). such as the Colorado Plateau, are the term, resource concerns, to include Studies have found that trampling can product of climate (strong winds and changes to resource condition due to decrease cover of biological soil crusts infrequent rains), parent rocks (lime- unknown factors or the cumulative (Jeffries and Klopatek 1987) and stones, sandstones, and metamorphic effects of multiple stressors on a reduce or eliminate nutrient cycling rocks), and topography (runoff and resource. Specific descriptions of the (Belnap et al. 1994). The loss of nitro- deposit patterns) (Balba 1995). effects of stressors on individual gen cycling can have a corresponding According to the Society ecosystems will be provided in impact on the nitrogen content of of America, soil quality is the capacity Chapter 2. dominant plant species (Harper and of a soil to function (within natural or Pendleton 1993). Grazing in riparian managed ecosystem boundaries) to Invasive or Non-native Species areas can impact water quality, sustain plant and animal productivity, Examples of the severity of the inva- increase erosion and sedimentation, maintain or enhance water and air sive species issue include the contribute to the establishment of

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invasive plants, and increase the Viewshed, Soundscape Intrusions Administration with developing a impacts of floods by reducing vegeta- Urban developments and associated plan for tour aircraft use of Grand tive cover (Windell et al. 1986). activities alter natural viewsheds of Canyon airspace that would limit parks and contribute to haze and audible aircraft noise to less than Wildlife management is also of noise pollution at local and regional 25% of the day in 50% or more of concern to park managers. Recent scales. In winter, high-pressure sys- the Park (Public Law 100-91, 18 increases in populations of tems over the Colorado Plateau can August 1987). (Cervus elaphus) may be changing prevent the dispersal of atmospheric plant communities through overgraz- pollution in river valleys and basins Altered Vegetation Structure ing and browsing and could inhibit (Durrenberger 1972). At GRCA, or Composition efforts toward re-establishment of over 60% of the visibility reduction This category summarizes the impor- native plants. Browse by elk has has been linked to sulfates from tance of several stressors or resource exceeded documented pre-European fossil fuel combustion, smelters, concerns collectively impacting vege- range of variation (Allen 1996). and urban areas. Currently, regional tation structure or composition. While ungulate populations are haze produced from -fired Changes to vegetation structure and being promoted, predator control by power generating stations affects composition have the potential to land managers reduces a key compo- all SCPN parks. disrupt the function of an ecosystem nent of a functioning ecosystem and making it unsuitable for associated exacerbates impacts of ungulates. According to a report by the biota (MacArthur and MacArthur National Parks Conservation 1961, Rotenberry 1985, Szaro et al. Urban/suburban/rural Association, light pollution at 1985) and permanently shift a sys- Development on Adjacent Lands national parks is a widespread prob- tem away from its original state Major subdivisions and larger urban lem impacting visitors’ experiences (Westoby et al. 1989, Milton et al. areas can impact natural resources in (1999). Artificial light sources can 1994). Examples of altered vegeta- nearby parks (e.g., AZRU and PETR) impair dark skies for up to 160 kilo- tion structure include the following: through non-point source pollution meters (Clarke 1999). Light pollution such as motor and exhaust residue may also alter animal behavior • Increase in cover of pinyon-juniper from streets, fertilizers and herbicides through disorientation leading to forests due to site-specific mecha- from lawns, non-native plant intro- reduced survival. Species affected nisms including climate change ductions, feral animals, altered water by light pollution include migrating and land-use practices (Miller and runoff patterns, and structures asso- birds (Cochran and Graber 1958, Wigand 1994, Tausch 1999, West ciated with development. Impacts Kemper 1964, Crawford 1981), 1999). from urban development can also be moths (Frank 1988, Blake et al. • Changes in structure and species region-wide, such as the impacts to 1994), and frogs (Cornell and composition of montane conifer- air quality at GRCA from metropoli- Hailman 1984, Buchanan 1993). ous systems due to fire and tan areas in Arizona, , and climate change which results in and from development in Natural soundscapes are primarily decreased biodiversity, altered spa- northern Mexico. affected by vehicular traffic (i.e., tial distribution of soil nutrients, private and commercial vehicles, and deteriorated tree health and Rural developments along park off- vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, consequent bark infesta- boundaries impact visitor experience, and helicopters). Soundscape impair- tions (Vankat and Major 1978, detract from the remote character of ments in SCPN parks include major Waring 1983, Allen 1998, Jackson parks, and cause habitat fragmenta- roads within or near park boundaries et al. 2000). tion. Visitor experience may be (PEFO and ELMO), an off-road vehi- • Alteration of riparian systems due impaired through the increase in cle site on adjacent Forest Service to livestock grazing (Leopold 1924, noise and air pollution along with property (SUCR), and aircraft noise Carothers 1977, Mosconi and viewshed alterations. Transportation (BAND, GRCA). Because low-eleva- Hutto 1982, Szaro 1989, Chaney and utility corridors and range fences tion overflights for sightseeing and et al. 1990) fragment suitable habitat thereby other purposes adversely impact the • Elimination of biological soil crusts impairing movement of wildlife and natural soundscape of most of by surface disturbances such as dividing biotic communities into more GRCA, the National Parks Overflights trampling and off-road vehicle use vulnerable components (Sisk et al. Act of 1987 tasked the National Park (Jeffries and Klopatek, 1987, 1997, Bright and van Riper III 2001). Service and Federal Aviation Belnap et al. 1994)

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Industrial/Extractive Uses Water Management – Quantity Mineral extraction (coal, oil, natural The primary concerns in this category gas, and uranium) can impact the are depletion of water resources environment through increased across the region through water sedimentation, toxic levels of chemi- impoundment, diversion, and pump- cals such as heavy metals and ing from aquifers and impacts to hydrocarbons, and noise pollution. A surface and subsurface water byproduct of industrial and extrac- sources. Changes in hydrology tive uses is the increase in access (storm water diversion, impound- roads, paved surfaces, and pipelines. ments, ground water withdrawals These directly destroy and fragment and other practices that reduce habitat, provide a path for non- streamflow or lower water tables) native plant invasion, lead to affect aquatic and terrestrial ecologi- increased soil erosion, and increase cal resources (e.g., riparian habitats, sedimentation and runoff rates to wetlands, and stream habitats). streams. In addition, extraction of Water is scarce on the Colorado some resources (e.g., methane and Plateau (Durrenberger 1972), so any uranium) requires large volumes of removal of water resources adversely groundwater which can result in impacts the biota of the area. depletion or contamination of Growing urban areas on the aquifers (Simons Li & Associates Inc Colorado Plateau place increasing 1982, Nuccio 2000, Gilbert 2002). demands (e.g., drinking water, Mineral and geothermal develop- lawns, and irrigation) on the water ment can occur on State Trust lands resources, and the issue is com- within parks and on surrounding pounded by the latest drought in the Trust, Federal, tribal, and private . Groundwater lands. Mineral resources on the withdrawals from regional aquifers Colorado Plateau include: in northern Arizona may impact springflow and aquatic resources at • Large quantities of high quality GRCA, WACA, and WUPA. Water coal with low sulfur content level declines have been documented (Durrenberger 1972, Kirschbaum in the shallow alluvial aquifer at 2000). Both CHCU and MEVE are CHCU. Infiltration of shallow situated on a large deposit of groundwater has affected cultural coal that extends from southern resources at AZRU and ELMA. Visible Colorado through western New declines in hanging gardens and Mexico (Molnia et al. 2000). other habitats associated with sur- • The , extending face waters have been documented from to at CACH and NAVA. The structure, northwest New Mexico and function, and sustainability of key- encompassing CHCU and MEVE, stone riparian and wetland has become the second largest ecosystems depend fundamentally source of natural gas in the on the quality and quantity of water coterminous United States resources. (Fassett 2000). • Uranium mines proposed in the Visitor Use (top) An active gas well, Aztec Ruins National CHCU watershed The National Park Service Organic Monument. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS Act of 1916 (16 U.S.C. 1 § 1) (middle) An irrigation ditch diverts water from the Animas River at Aztec Ruins Other extractive uses that occur on requires that parks be managed “to National Monument. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS the Colorado Plateau include mining conserve the scenery, natural and (above) An earthen dam impounds Tsaile for gravel, pumice, and landscape historical objects, and wildlife there- Creek, creating perennial flow in the upper stones; uranium mining; logging; in” and concurrently provide for reaches, Canyon de Chelly National and geothermal development. visitor use without impairing the Monument. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS

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resources. This mandate is challeng- increase the rate of loss of soils and resources, human communities, and ing for all parks, particularly those associated nutrients (Gellis 1996, ecosystem function. NPS and other with high visitation numbers. Many West and Young 2000, Breshears and federal agencies have been working parks of the SCPN experienced rapid Allen 2002, Whicker et al. 2002). to return fire to those systems and growth in the number of annual mechanically restore the structural recreational visits between the mid- Elevated rates of erosion have con- characteristics that existed pre- 1980s and the mid-1990s (Figure tributed to habitat degradation and European colonization. D2, Appendix D). Although visitor the loss of geologic and paleo use of Southwest parks has resources (Allen et al. 2002, Whicker 1.6 SUMMARY OF PAST AND decreased in the last few years, this et al. 2002). Wilcox et al. (1996b) CURRENT MONITORING may be a temporary trend resulting predicted that many woodland soils from the economy and a general at BAND would be lost within 100- 1.6.1 Monitoring in SCPN Parks reduction in tourism since 2001. 200 years due to erosion levels A solid understanding of current and Resource impacts associated with compounded by historic grazing, previous inventory and monitoring in increased visitation are numerous fire suppression, and catastrophic and around network park units is an and wide-ranging—from trampling fire. Erosive forces also expose important foundation for develop- of soils and vegetation (Liddle 1975, paleo resources potentially degrad- ment of the SCPN inventory and Weaver and 1978, Whittaker ing the value of those resources monitoring program. Documentation 1978, Cole and Bayfield 1993), to through damage and redistribution and review of existing work allows introduction of non-native plant (Kidwell and Flessa 1995). Major the network to identify where moni- species (D’Antonio and Vitousek archeological and fossil resources at toring is adequate, where additional 1992), to direct interactions with PEFO are being lost to wind and monitoring or protocol development and disturbances of wildlife (Brown water erosion. is needed, which monitoring studies and Stevens 1997, Miller et al. 2001), can be built upon and expanded, to increased levels of water and air Declining Air Quality and what studies should be aban- pollutants (Carothers et al. 1976). Pollutants from anthropogenic doned. Information regarding sources have been detected at all monitoring was gathered from a Aquatic resources are under heavy NPS monitoring stations (Ross 1990). Servicewide inventory and monitor- recreational pressure, particularly at Air pollution affects natural and cul- ing database (Support Document C), GRCA and GLCA. Documented tural resources throughout much of and the superintendent interviews impacts from recreation at GRCA the park system through impaired (Support Document B). and GLCA include bank erosion, visibility, threats to biotic health, and contamination from human waste, degradation of historic structures Documentation of existing inventory, water pollution, trash, and trampling and artifacts (National Park Service monitoring, and research efforts will of plants (Carothers et al. 1976). Air Resources Division 2002). See be an on-going SCPN data manage- Appendix B for information on air ment function. With frequent Erosional Loss of Soil quality and monitoring efforts in turnover of park natural resource Erosional processes are fundamental SCPN park units. management staff, the “institutional” to Colorado Plateau topography and knowledge that is often lost when ecosystem functioning. Water ero- Fire and Fuels Management employees move to new positions will sion redistributes soils and essential Fire-structured habitat (e.g., pinyon- at least be partially retained in these plant nutrients in pinyon-juniper sys- juniper woodlands and Ponderosa databases. This effort should facilitate tems (Wilcox et al. 1996a, Reid et al. pine forests) composes at least one- park-level natural resource program 1999), and continued Aeolian third of the vegetation cover at six continuity. Table 1-7 is a summary of deposition re-enriches the soil that parks (BAND, ELMA, GRCA, MEVE, the status of resource and stressor otherwise would become depleted SAPU, WACA) in the network. The monitoring in SCPN parks, as drawn over time (Lajtha and Schlesinger combined impact of anthropogenic from the various interviews and data- 1988, et al. 1999, practices and climatic shifts has base described above. Reynolds et al. 2001). However, altered wildfire characteristics in those livestock grazing, farming, logging, ecosystems. Where low-intensity 1.6.2 Regional or Adjacent catastrophic fires resulting from his- surface fires were commonplace, Lands Monitoring toric fire suppression, and urban increased frequency of catastrophic By taking an ecoregional approach development directly and indirectly fires now threaten natural and cultural to vital signs monitoring, we

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Table 1-7. Summary of natural resource inventory or monitoring activities in SCPN park units. H: historical inventory or monitoring data with adequate documentation; I: short-term comprehensive inventory (1 to 2 years); M: long-term monitoring (2+ years); S: SCPN inventory

* Earth sciences: includes geology, , soils, etc.; Stressor: includes park visitors, non-native and invasive plants and animals, herbivory and trampling by large mammals, NPS development and infrastructure, NPS management actions, adjacent land use activities, natural disturbance, etc.

acknowledge that ecosystems are not demic institutions, non-profit organi- states of Arizona, Colorado, New contained within park boundaries. zations, and other conservation Mexico, Utah and the We envision a collaborative effort groups also provides valuable knowl- all have Natural Heritage programs among SCPN park units and adjacent edge, skills, and resources required which collect and manage data on land managers in order to accurately to provide full monitoring coverage biological diversity within their determine the status of the nation’s across the Colorado Plateau. For respective areas. Specific information ecosystems both within and outside example, the State Agricultural regarding avian diversity and trends the park units. SCPN adjacent and Experiment Station at University of can be found through two nationally neighboring lands are owned and/or Illinois coordinates the National coordinated efforts, the Breeding managed by various entities, includ- Atmospheric Deposition Program/ Bird Survey coordinated by the USGS ing: the Bureau of Land Management National Trends Network Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (BLM), the Bureau of Reclamation (NADP/NTN). Initiated in 1978, and the National Audubon Society’s (USBR), the Forest Service (USFS), the NADP/NTN monitors precipitation Christmas Bird Count. Finally, several Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and chemistry at a nationwide network efforts to document landscape states and private entities (Figure 1- of sites. Climate data throughout the change have been initiated including 7). Data collected from neighboring U.S. is collected by the U.S. Forest the USDA Forest Service Forest lands that coincides with SCPN vital Service, Remote Automated Weather Inventory and Analysis Program signs objectives will help us to devel- Station Network (RAWS). The 1500 which includes data on federal, op a broader assessment of stations in the RAWS network collect state, and private lands. An extensive conditions and trends. data on temperature, dew point, list of long-term regional and adja- precipitation, wind speed, wind cent lands monitoring and research Regional and nationwide monitoring direction, relative humidity, fuel tem- programs was compiled by the SCPN conducted by federal agencies, aca- perature, and fuel moisture. The staff (Appendix F).

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FIGURE 1-7. Map of land ownership across the Southern Colorado Plateau.

1.7 SCPN CORE VITAL the Northern Colorado Plateau signs for SCPN parks. We are actively SIGNS AND MONITORING Network to develop conceptual engaged in developing monitoring OBJECTIVES models of key Colorado Plateau protocols for the highest priority, or The ecological context of the ecosystems. Chapter 3 summarizes core, SCPN vital signs (Table 1-8). We Colorado Plateau and an assessment our use of expert workshops to solicit will seek to expand the monitoring of important resources and manage- and incorporate the advice of a broad program to include the remaining ment issues among network parks array of scientists and resource profes- topics as additional resources become provide a starting point for the vital sionals into our monitoring plan. The available or through partnership signs selection process. Chapter 2 outcome of this two-year planning efforts. Monitoring objectives for each describes our collaborative work with effort was the selection of 25 vital vital sign are included in Table 1-9.

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INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND d e r r e f e d ; g n i r o t i n o m d e n n a k l r p a r p o e t h n t e o r t r y u l c p n p a w t o o n n k s o e n o d h t i n g w i s s l n a g t i i s v l e a t h i T V - ◊ y c n s l e g o c . a o s e t t k o a r r t p s a r d p o n l a N a s r P n e a d C l e f p S r g e n n i i h t r o o g t n i n a n i o r r o m o k t h i r t i a n p w o k p r o m l o e r w v t e o e f d n o a s t y n g b n g i i d k s e r r o l o t w a i t s n i i o v N m P e e r r C a S o t t C a a h h . t t s s 8 n - n g g i 1 i s s l l e a a l t t i i b V V a T + •

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK . s n g i s l a t i v N P C S e r o c r o f s e v i t c e j b o g n i r o t i n o M . 9 - 1 e l b a T

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INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND . s n g i s l a t i v N P C S e r o c r o f s e v i t c e j b o g n i r o t i n o M . d e u n i t n o c 9 - 1

e l Landscape b a T

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2.1 THE USE OF MODELS identify a limited set of integrative (Figure 2-1). This model, also known IN DESIGNING AN elements that provide information on as the Jenny-Chapin model, defines ECOLOGICAL MONITORING multiple aspects of ecosystem con- state factors and interactive controls PROGRAM dition (Noon 2003). Moreover, central to the structure and function Conceptual models of ecological conceptual models motivate hypothe- of sustainable ecosystems. Jenny systems are “caricatures of nature” ses regarding consequences of (1941, 1980) proposed that soil and (Holling et al. 2002) designed to natural and anthropogenic processes ecosystem processes are determined describe and communicate ideas on system structure and function. by five state factors—global climate, about how nature works. Conceptual Conceptualizing the external process- potential biota, relief (topography), models provide a way to organize es that influence ecosystems (i.e., parent material, and time since dis- current understanding of ecosystem drivers), the key products of human turbance (Figure 2-1A). Chapin et al. structure and processes and to activities or natural events that alter (1996) extended this framework to explore hypothesized linkages ecosystem integrity (i.e., stressors), define a set of four interactive among system components. and likely pathways of degradation controls that are regulated by the Conceptual models also improve and attendant changes in system five state factors. These interactive communication among scientists structure and function aids in identi- controls—regional climate, soil from different disciplines, between fying key system indicators or vital resources, major functional groups of scientists and managers, and signs. Concentrating monitoring organisms, and disturbance regime— between managers and the public. efforts on these vital signs ensures govern and respond to ecosystem the collection of information useful attributes. (Figure 2-1B). Conceptual models are essential for for understanding ecological condi- designing credible and effective tion and change and for informing By substituting water quality and ecological monitoring programs. park management. quantity for soil resources, the Jenny- Ecological systems are highly integra- Chapin model can be applied to tive and complex, and their response 2.1.1 Conceptual Model aquatic as well as terrestrial ecosys- to novel environmental or biotic con- Approach tems (Chapin III et al. 1996). ditions is often poorly understood. The SCPN adopted a modified ver- Regional climate and disturbance The intent of conceptual models for sion of the interactive-control model regimes are external to the system monitoring design is not to represent (Jenny 1941, Chapin III et al. 1996) and are categorized as drivers of the full complexity of a system, but as the overarching framework for ecosystem structure and function. rather to use current knowledge to conceptual model development Soil resources and functional groups

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FIGURE 2-1. Illustration of the Jenny-Chapin model. A – Jenny’s (1941) five state factors. B – Relationship among state factors, interactive controls, and ecosystem processes. The circle represents the boundary of the ecosystem (from Chapin et al. 1996).

encompass system states and Objectives and details of models var- that is, how and why ecosystems processes that influence overall sys- ied from general representation of change as a consequence of inter- tem structure and function. system structure to hypothesized acting natural and human factors. Functional groups pertain to species responses to specific stressors. This State-and-transition models are or species assemblages likely to have nested hierarchy served to identify used to depict system dynamics profound effects on ecosystem char- specific drivers and stressors, plausible and to pose hypotheses about acteristics following their introduction stressor-induced degradation path- ecological thresholds, transitions or loss from a system (Vitousek 1990, ways and ecosystem responses, and among states, and the effect of Chapin III et al. 1997). measures and vital signs indicative of management activities on state the domain of natural conditions and transitions (Stringham et al. 2001, A key aspect of the Jenny-Chapin the transition to degraded conditions. Jackson et al. 2002, Bestelmeyer et model is the associated hypothesis al. 2003). Models are developed that interactive controls must be The nested hierarchy consists of for broad functional groupings of conserved for an ecosystem to be three general types of conceptual ecosystems with eventual develop- sustained. Large changes in any of model: ment of site-specific models of the four interactive controls are pre- selected systems. dicted to result in an ecosystem with Ecosystem Characterization different characteristics than the Model (Figure 2-2A) is a general- Mechanistic Model (Figure 2-2C) original system (Chapin III et al. ized model that includes a list of provides details concerning the 1996). For example, major changes state variables and forcing functions actual ecological processes in soil resources can greatly affect important to the ecosystem and the responsible for patterns depicted productivity, recruitment, and com- focal problem. It also illustrates in the dynamic models. These petitive relations of plants and result processes connecting components models provide insight into path- in substantive changes in the structure (Jorgensen 1986). The model pro- ways and primary and secondary and function of plant communities vides a framework for organizing effects of particular stressors, and higher trophic levels. information from discussion and lit- highlight potential monitoring erature review around the four attributes or measures, and illus- Using the Jenny-Chapin model as a interactive controls. trate the linkage of these central theme (Figure 2-1B), a nested attributes in the context of the hierarchy of conceptual models (Figure Ecosystem Dynamics Model broader ecosystem. Models are 2-2) was developed for each of the (Figure 2-2B) presents hypotheses developed for single or multiple five major ecosystems in the SCPN. concerning ecosystem dynamics, combinations of stressors.

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the riparian-aquatic and spring ecosystems (Table 2-1). Conceptual models are detailed in Supplements I thru IV.

Summary conceptual models and narratives for each ecosystem are provided below to illustrate interac- tive controls (drivers, soil/water resources, functional groups), stres- sors, key degradation processes, and potential ecosystem measures for characterizing natural and degraded system conditions identified from the hierarchical scheme of models. Chapter 3 describes how conceptual models and identified ecosystem measures were used in the selection of the SCPN vital signs.

2.2 DRYLAND ECOSYSTEMS (see Supplement I for full report)

Dryland systems occur where mean annual precipitation is less than 450 mm, which includes about 85-90% of SCPN parkland area. These sys- tems are characterized by mixtures of pygmy conifers (Juniperus and Pinus spp.), shrub and desert grass- lands, and biological soil crusts. Additionally, landforms of the dry- land systems include deep and sparsely vegetated canyons, lava beds, and slickrock. Limited precipi- tation and, in many cases, limited vegetative cover impose a high FIGURE 2-2. Hierarchical conceptual model scheme used in the vital signs plan- degree of vulnerability of dryland ning process. systems to changes in natural dis- A – ecosystem characterization model showing drivers (ovals), functional components (rec- turbance and climatic regimes and tangles), and stressors (dashed rectangles), B – ecosystem dynamics model using a state and transition framework, C – mechanistic model illustrating the degradation process of a to human impacts. The summary stressor (trampling). conceptual model for dryland ecosys- tems is shown in Figure 2-3 and discussed below.

2.1.2 Conceptual Model workplan to guide continued model Drivers Development Summary development and refinement for Regional Climatic and Atmospheric Dr. Mark Miller, former NCPN Colorado Plateau ecosystems. The Conditions. Precipitation regime is Ecologist, developed general concep- SCPN funded the completion of dry- the most important climatic factor tual models for the NCPN Phase I land models and the development of defining the characteristics of dry- Report (Evenden et al. 2002). The montane ecosystem models. The two land ecosystems. Precipitation NCPN and SCPN jointly developed a networks equally funded the devel- regulates key water-limited ecologi- conceptual model framework and opment of conceptual models for cal processes, such as primary

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Table 2-1. Timetable for completing ecosystem specific conceptual models. Table includes conceptual model projects funded through NCPN, SCPN and the USGS/BRD Canyonlands Research Station.

production, nutrient cycling, and storm features determine spatial pat- importance in sagebrush shrublands plant reproduction (Noy-Meir 1973, tern of precipitation which can be and shrub steppe, productive semi- and Ehleringer 1992, highly variable during the summer. desert grasslands and juniper Whitford 2002). Interactions among savannas (Jameson 1962, Johnsen the seasonality, size, and duration Strong winds are common in dryland 1962), and piñon-juniper woodlands. of precipitation events determine systems. Winds modify energy and Low-intensity surface fires thin or ecosystem response to precipitation. water balances of plants and soils by eliminate fire-intolerant woody vege- Seasonality influences the partitioning affecting evapotranspiration rates tation and favor the dominance of of precipitation among evaporation, (Larcher 1995), redistributing soil fire tolerant graminoids (Jameson transpiration, runoff, drainage, and resources (Whicker et al. 2002), and 1962, Wright 1980). soil-water storage and determines interacting with topography to influ- vegetative dominance (Comstock ence wildfire behavior. Insect and disease outbreaks are and Ehleringer 1992). linked with climatic conditions that Natural Disturbance. Extreme cli- diminish the vigor and insect resist- Most (e.g., 70%) precipitation matic events typify dryland ecosystems ance of host plants and affect life events are small (<5 mm) and drive (Walker 1993, Whitford 2002) and cycles and dispersal patterns of soil-surface processes such as nutri- contribute to the natural spatio- insect herbivores (Swetnam and ent mineralization and volatilization. temporal variability of dryland systems. Betancourt 1998, Logan et al. 2003). Larger events initiate seed germina- Drought, extreme precipitation events, As with fire, insect outbreaks interact tion and soil-water recharge floods, and wind storms cause wide- with climate to generate long-term (Ehleringer et al. 2000). Precipitation spread mortality, impairment to the changes in vegetation structure. intensity, in combination with soil establishment of long-lived plants, characteristics and soil-surface fea- and massive transport and redistribu- Soil Resources tures, determine infiltration and tion of soil resources. The edaphic heterogeneity created by runoff levels (Whitford 2002, geologic and prehistoric climatic fea- Breshears et al. 2003). Orographic The role of wildfire varies among tures and the tight coupling between effects, rain shadows, and seasonal dryland ecosystems, with greater vegetation community pattern and

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soil resources (Charley and West Stressors and Degradation 1975, Schlesinger et al. 1990, Processes Schlesinger et al. 1996) strongly regu- Climatic Change. Increasing levels lates vegetative patterns across parks. of atmospheric CO2, increasing soil Soil properties and associated biota and air temperatures, and altered regulate hydrologic processes and the precipitation patterns are likely to cycling of mineral nutrients and sus- affect physiological processes and tain the existence and productivity competitive relations of vascular of plant and animal populations. plants, nutrient cycles, hydrologic Dynamic attributes defining soil processes, and natural disturbance function (i.e., organic matter) vary regimes. All of these can greatly alter naturally with temporally variable cli- the structure and functioning of dry- matic and disturbance conditions. land ecosystems (Alward et al. 1999, Ehleringer et al. 2000, Smith et al. Functional Groups 2000, Weltzin et al. 2003) and the Biological Soil Crusts (BSC). BSC sensitivity of these systems to other are critical components of dryland anthropogenic stressors. systems (Belnap and Lange 2001). BSC occur within the upper few mil- Air Pollution. Nitrogen deposition limeters of the soil surface (Belnap et has potential implications for numer- al. 2001). BSC increase soil stability, ous ecological patterns and reduce raindrop impact and erosivity, processes including ecosystem sus- and enhance infiltration of precipita- ceptibility to exotic species invasions tion. BSC are primary producers, and (e.g., Asner et al. 1997, Fenn et al. associated species of bacteria fix 2003a, Galloway et al. 2003). atmospheric nitrogen. Although current rates of nitrogen deposition are generally low across Vegetation. In addition to conduct- most of the western United States, ing photosynthesis, above-ground modeling indicates potential hot structures of vascular plants protect spots of nitrogen deposition in the soils from erosion by raindrops, vicinity of MEVE (Fenn et al. 2003b). wind, and overland water flow and enhance the retention of soil Fire Exclusion. Altered fire regimes resources. Plants also modify the attributable to past livestock grazing physical environment by shading and (fuel removal) and fire suppression litter deposition. Roots stabilize soils, efforts have caused significant conduct and redistribute resources, changes in vegetation structure and and provide organic matter to soil functioning of associated ecosystem food webs. Vegetation is a key processes. Mediated by changes in component for vertebrate and inver- vegetation structure, altered fire tebrate habitat. Fuel loadings and regimes can result in diminished fuel connectivity, the erosion poten- hydrologic functioning (e.g., Wilcox tial of precipitation, and habitat et al. 1996b, Davenport et al. 1998, connectivity for coarse-scale organ- Jacobs and Gatewood 1999) and isms are influenced by the spatial increased susceptibility to drought, pattern of vegetative conditions. other disturbances, and various (top) The removal of perennial grasses and shrubs allows wind-driven erosion stressors. to form coppice dunes of unstable soil. Vertebrates and Invertebrates. PHOTO BY MARK MILLER, USGS Consumption of plant and animal Visitors. SCPN park units experienced (middle) and juniper on material, trampling of soil and BSC by a rapid increase in annual visitors slickrock, . ungulates, and redistribution of ener- from mid-1980 to mid-1990 (Figure PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS (above) Desert shrubs and grasses, gy and materials are among the key D2, Appendix D). Likely results Wupatki National Monument. effects and functions of these species. include greater off-trail trampling of PHOTO BY MEGAN SWAN, NAU


FIGURE 2-3. Summary conceptual model for dryland ecosystems. Solid ovals are drivers and interactive controls, solid rectangles are system components that are interactive controls, dashed rectangles are stressors, and dotted rectangles are key degradation processes associated with each stressor (described in Table 2-2). Text for interactive controls indicates components or structure followed by function. Text for stressors shows proximate effects.

soils and vegetation, direct interac- fixation by BSC is critical to the pro- Evans et al. 2001). Current and tions with and disturbances of ductivity of dryland systems. historic grazing on and around SCPN wildlife, and increased levels of parks have converted significant water and air pollutants. The tram- Invasive Non-native Plants. Non- portions of native grasslands to pling of soils is of special concern native invasion can lead to the cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) due to the wide-ranging conse- displacement of native species and (Table D8, Appendix D). quences of soil compaction and the alterations of ecosystem-level proper- destruction of biological soil crusts ties such as disturbance regimes Livestock Grazing. Livestock graz- (BSC). The loss of BSC decreases soil (D’Antonio and Vitousek 1992, Mack ing and trailing is permitted in stability and increases wind and and D’Antonio 1998) and soil- GLCA and trespass livestock occur water erosion. Additionally, nitrogen resource regimes (Vitousek 1990, in several others. Historically, most

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Table 2-2. Key degradation processes and stressors, their ecosystem effects, and potential measures for dryland ecosystems.

parks were grazed. Grazing has Four key degradation processes are modified vegetative communities by predicted in response to individual removing palatable native grasses and interacting stressors (Figure 2-3, and shrubs and trampling soils and Table 2-2). These processes can lead vegetation. The reduction of native to conditions beyond the perceived plants in conjunction with soil dis- domain of naturally variable dryland turbance has led to the wide-spread systems and have important implica- colonization of non-native plants on tions for ecosystem sustainability. park lands. 2.3 MONTANE AND Adjacent Land Use. Livestock SUBALPINE ECOSYSTEMS grazing, forest management, urban/ (see Supplement II for full report) exurban development, and industri- al and agricultural pollutants have Montane and subalpine ecosystems the potential to degrade park lands. occur in 9 SCPN parks (Supplement II). They increase the transfer of soil Included in this suite of ecosystems are and water to park areas by depositing Ponderosa pine forests, mixed conifer, airborne and waterborne pollutants subalpine spruce-fir forests, montane and introducing non-native biota, shubland, and montane-subalpine and they can be a source of distur- grasslands. Conceptual models for bances such as wildfire. Large-scale each ecosystem are presented in habitat loss and reduction of land- Supplement II. Common interactive A fence demarcates the boundary scape connectivity threaten to controls, stressors, and key degrada- between Chaco Culture National increase the insular nature of most tion processes are summarized in Historical Park and adjacent lands with SCPN parks. Figure 2-4, and discussed below. livestock grazing. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS


FIGURE 2-4. Summary conceptual model for montane and subalpine ecosystems. Solid ovals are drivers and interactive controls, solid rectangles are system components that are interactive controls (soil resources, functional groups), dashed rectangles are stressors, and dotted rectangles are key degradation processes associated with each stressor (described in Table 2-3). Text for interactive controls indicates components or structure followed by function. Text for stressors shows proximate effects.

Drivers of lightning which provides an abun- high intensity, stand-replacing fires Regional Climatic and Atmospheric dant source of forest fire ignitions. occur at higher elevations, creating a Conditions. The occurrence of forest- patch mosaic of post-fire successional ed systems on the Colorado Plateau Natural Disturbance. Fire is a major forests. In montane meadows, the is directly related to mountainous disturbance with regimes and effects natural fire regime inhibits the estab- terrain and elevation-mediated pre- varying with elevation. High frequen- lishment of trees. cipitation gradients. A winter cy, low intensity surface fires at lower snowpack is common in mixed elevations consume surface fuels and Wind events at scales from conifer and subalpine systems and small stems and rarely result in over- microbursts to large storms occasion- contributes to summer water for story mortality. Park-like, old-growth ally result in gap formation. Large plants. A critical weather component Ponderosa forests are maintained by windthrow patches notably occur in in these systems is the high frequency frequent surface fires. Low frequency, subalpine forests. Winter winds in

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combination with ice and snow result temperatures can also alter the ele- in the breakage of branches and vation domain of species, leading to large windthrow patches. Downed the migration of forest communities coarse woody debris resulting from farther upslope. windthrow provides important habi- tat for ground-dwelling animals and Air Pollution. The air pollutants of saprophytic species and is important greatest concern are ozone, sulfate, to nutrient cycling. and nitrogen-based compounds such as nitrate and ammonium/ammonia. The major pests and pathogens Ozone injures foliage, reduces growth, impacting montane and subalpine and may combine with other air pollu- systems are native species. Bark bee- tants to cause even more damage. tles—usually present in low numbers Nitrogen may enhance vegetative and persisting in less productive liv- growth in nitrogen-limited systems, ing trees and in fresh windthrows— but it can offset that growth with an occasionally kill trees. Large-scale increased flux of nitrogenous trace tree mortality occurs when climate- gases from soil, decreased diversity of and pathogen-induced stress weak- mycorrhizae and lichens, altered car- ens tree defenses against . bon cycling and fuel accumulation in forests, and physiological perturbation Soil Resources of overstory trees. Air pollutants Soils range from shallow to deep, potentially can affect patterns of tree but are generally permeable and mortality and regeneration and there- capable of storing snowmelt. This by affect species composition and provides available water for all or vegetation dynamics. most of the growing season. Mycorrhizae are essential compo- Fire Exclusion. Fewer fires can lead nents in forested systems, facilitating to dramatic changes in forest struc- tree-root uptake of critical nutrients. ture and composition and fuel structure. In general, fire exclusion Functional Groups increases tree densities and decreas- Vegetation. Forests are a signifi- es herb and shrub cover. It also leads cant source of primary production to increased buildup of fuels, provid- and a unique habitat for numerous ing conditions for high-intensity fires plants and animals. At the land- in systems naturally maintained by scape scale, the spatio-temporal low-intensity surface fires. variability of natural disturbances and successional development cre- Invasive Non-native Plants. Non- ates a mosaic of stand conditions native plants compete with and and ages, promoting broad-scale displace native species, resulting in diversity of flora and fauna. lower biodiversity and altering soil- (top) Mixed conifer forest fringes a nutrient cycling. Non-native invasion montane meadow, Grand Canyon Vertebrates and Invertebrates. is most important in Ponderosa pine National Park. NPS ARCHIVE (above) Ground fire burns through The roles of these species are similar forests, where non-native plants Ponderosa pine forest in Grand to that in dryland systems. can comprise 21% of the plant Canyon National Park. ground cover. NPS ARCHIVES Stressors and Degradation Processes Historic Livestock Grazing. Grazing Climatic Change. Predicted increas- in high-elevation forests and mead- es in temperature can increase ows has greatly reduced the amount physiological stress in trees, leading of herbaceous cover. This has to greater susceptibility to infestation reduced the amount of fine fuels by insects and pathogens. Increased that once carried surface fires and

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Table 2-3. Key degradation processes and stressors, their ecosystem effects, and potential measures for montane and subalpine ecosystems.

has led to increased woody-plant and other land use practices can lead encroachment in meadows and to large-scale habitat loss, decrease higher understory stem densities regional habitat connectivity, and over- in forests. all, increase insularization of park lands.

Adjacent Land Use. Adjacent Five key degradation processes are lands can serve as sources of distur- predicted for montane and subalpine bance, notably fire. Forest harvest systems (Figure 2-4, Table 2-3).

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The in Glen Canyon Mancos River, Mesa Verde National Flattened vegetation is an indicator of National Recreation Area transports Park. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS recent flooding, Hubbell Trading Post sediment downstream to the Colorado National Historic Site. River in Grand Canyon National Park. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS NPS ARCHIVE

2.4 RIPARIAN AND AQUATIC aquatic and riparian ecosystems. The Populus spp. and Salix spp. germinate ECOSYSTEMS general importance of precipitation and grow on moist, freshly deposited (see Supplement III for full report) seasonality, size, and duration are alluvial sediments following floods discussed under the dryland concep- (Auble and Scott 1998, et al. Riparian and aquatic ecosystems pro- tual model (2.2). Precipitation 2003). Large magnitude floods redis- vide water and unique habitat for intensity is especially relevant in tribute sediment in channels and the numerous plant and animal species terms of runoff and the potential floodplain and create topographic in the predominantly dry landscape for debris flows and flash floods. diversity through large-scale erosion of the SCPN. Aquatic systems include Additionally, decadal-scale variations and deposition of sediments. More surface water and channel character- in precipitation patterns are espe- frequent, low-magnitude floods cre- istics of streams. Riparian zones cially important in shaping riparian ate hydrologic gradients that control occupy landscape positions transi- areas (Hereford et al. 2002, Mantua patterns of vegetation establishment tional between upland and aquatic and Hare 2002). During wet cycles, and successional processes (Brinson systems and are physically dynamic increased water flow results in erosion et al. 1981). and more biologically diverse than of the riparian zone. In subsequent surrounding uplands. Conceptual dry periods, channel narrowing, Regional drought reduces surface models of aquatic and riparian flood aggradation, and riparian flows and depletes alluvial ground- systems encompass perennial, vegetation establishment on the water aquifers. Mild water stress ephemeral, and intermittent streams former channel occurs. The marked reduces plant productivity. Under (Supplement III). A summary concep- shift from wet conditions in 1999 more severe conditions, trees die tual model was developed for the continues to the present and sug- from water stress or insects, two systems combined given their gests a continued transition to a dry pathogens, and diseases. high degree of overlap (Figure 2-5) phase for the next two to three and is discussed below. decades (Hereford et al. 2002). Upland Watershed Characteristics. The form of channels, floodplains, Drivers Natural Disturbance. Heavy flood- and many attributes of riparian Regional Climatic and Atmospheric ing results in widespread geomorphic ecosystems are determined by the Conditions. Precipitation drives flu- change and plant mortality as well as flux of water and sediment from vial geomorphic processes and the establishment of relatively long- upland watersheds. Soils, vegetative water-limited ecological processes lived riparian species (Schumm and pattern and composition, initial and, thus, is a key factor shaping Lichty 1963). For instance, seeds of relief, geology, watershed age, and


climate ultimately determine water Reductions in the riparian zone area Whitford 1996, Lavelle 1997, Wardle and sediment inputs to rivers. result from diminished flow variabili- 2002, Whitford 2002). Functioning of ty. Shallow alluvial groundwater is an these below-ground processes depends Stream Flow Regime. The stream important feature of riparian flood on the amounts and types of organic- flow regime determines the mechani- plain soils and is tightly linked to sur- matter inputs from vegetation and on cal forces that erode, transport, and face water dynamics. soil conditions such as moisture avail- deposit sediment which influences ability, soil structure, soil aeration, and channel dimensions of aquatic sys- Flood Plain Soil Resources, Fluvial soil temperature (Mitsch and Gosselink tems. Stream flow variation influences Geomorphic Processes, Water 1993, Whitford 1996, Whitford 2002). the occurrence of suitable habitat Quality The periodic wetting and drying of patches and species abundance (Bain Flood Plain Soil Resources. Soil riparian soils is critical to the release et al. 1988, Johnson 1992, Poff and biota contribute to the structure and of nutrients from leaf litter in riparian Allen 1995, Auble and Scott 1998). functioning of riparian ecosystems by environments (Mitsch and Gosselink Riparian ecosystems are structured by mediating nutrient cycling, water 1993). Soil-water holding characteris- geomorphic processes and hydrologic infiltration and storage, soil aggre- tics in addition to amount of alluvial conditions found in channels and on gate stability, and water and nutrient groundwater influence occurrence and associated flood . uptake by plants (Skujins 1984, survival of riparian plants.

FIGURE 2-5. Summary conceptual model for riparian and aquatic ecosystems. Solid ovals are drivers and interactive controls, solid blue rectangles are system components that are interactive controls, clear rectangles are other biotic components, dashed rectangles are stressors, and dotted rectangles are key degradation processes associated with each stressor (described in Table 2-4). Text for interactive controls indicates components or structure followed by function. Text for stressors shows proximate effects.

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Fluvial Geomorphic Processes. plants reduces the erosive impacts of Stream channels adjust to variations in rainfall and adds organic matter for the amount and size of the sediments nutrient cycling. Shading and litter supplied by the watershed. Suspended deposition by riparian plants affect sediment and bed load influence spatial and temporal patterns of soil- channel form. Channel patterns and resource availability to other organisms. forms are a function of changes in Roots stabilize soils and stream banks stream power, channel gradient, and serve as conduits for resource acquisi- sediment loads, and occur naturally in tion and redistribution and provide response to floods and droughts and organic-matter inputs to soil food changes in the upland watershed. The webs. Providing habitat for a diverse vertical accretion of sediments forms array of secondary consumer and flood plains which are critical substrate decomposer communities is an impor- for riparian vegetation. tant function of riparian vegetation.

Water Quality. Dissolved oxygen, Aquatic Biota. Benthic macroinverte- pH, and temperature are critical fac- brates are a vital link in aquatic and Visitor use can trample vegetation and tors regulating aquatic biota. Aquatic riparian systems. They consume algae muddy the water in narrow riparian biota are adapted to temporal vari- and provide food for aquatic and ter- areas, Glen Canyon National ations in these factors but are restrial vertebrates. Macroinvertebrates Recreation Area. PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS susceptible to extremes. Conditions respond to physical parameters such outside the normal range of variation as temperature, substrate, and cur- can result in the loss of the most rent velocity. They are also influenced lands upstream from some park units sensitive species, substantive shifts by their chemical environment, contribute to streamflow depletion and in species composition, or at the including pH, oxygen availability, and reduced streamflow variability. Water extreme, the loss of all biota and contaminants. Diversity and abun- extractions can lead to dewatering of associated functions. Changes in flow dance of aquatic macroinvertebrates the channel and floodplain, resulting regime, human activities, nutrient generally increases with substrate in the mortality of riparian vegetation loading by livestock, and other stres- stability and the presence of organic and encroachment of upland vegeta- sors can drastically alter water quality. detritus (Allan 1995). tion. Decreased bank stability associated with the loss of riparian In-channel Characteristics Stressors and Degradation vegetation increases channel erosion, Variations in channel form and sub- Processes resulting in the loss of floodplain soil strate creates a range of geomorphic Climatic Change. Increasing levels of resources and degradation of site con- features such as pools, riffles, mean- atmospheric CO2, rising soil and air ditions. Reduced stream transport ders, and sand bars. These features temperatures, and altered precipita- leads to channel narrowing, affecting provide a variety of microhabitats for tion patterns, including a potential in-stream habitat of aquatic species. aquatic biota. Flow velocity and refuge increase in the frequency of extreme availability determine the distribution events, are likely to affect competitive Dams have significantly altered the and suitability of microhabitats for relations of vascular plants, nutrient Rio Grande and the Colorado River in benthic macroinvertebrates. cycles, hydrologic and geomorphic the SCPN by disrupting the natural processes, and disturbance regimes. hydrologic regime and fragmenting Functional Groups Effects on water availability and flow riparian corridors. This disruption has Vegetation. Vegetation is the domi- variability have the potential to greatly altered habitats and competitive inter- nant functional type in riparian alter the structure and functioning of actions, degrading biotic integrity. ecosystems with woody trees and riparian ecosystems (e.g., Alward et al. Impoundments created by dams modi- shrubs as the defining elements. In 1999, Ehleringer et al. 2000, Smith et fy water temperatures and interrupt addition to conducting photosynthe- al. 2000, Weltzin et al. 2003) and the , negatively affect- sis, the above-ground structure of sensitivity of these systems to other ing all aquatic biota. In general, flow vascular plants protects floodplain soils anthropogenic stressors. regulation and depletion leads to from erosion and enhances the depo- widespread loss or ecological simplifi- sition and retention of nutrient-rich Streamflow Alteration. Surface cation of riparian ecosystems sediments during floods. Litter from and groundwater extractions on (Friedman et al. in press).

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Table 2-4. Key degradation processes and stressors, their ecosystem effects and potential measures for riparian and aquatic ecosystems.

Stream channel alterations intended quality. Recreational Jeep trails often Colorado Rivers. Tamarisk may pro- to improve drainage or flood-carrying traverse streams. Driving through mote fire disturbance by producing capacity occur upstream from some streams and riparian areas breaches large numbers of dead stems. SCPN parks. Channel alterations stream banks and levees, increases frequently result in downstream hydraulic roughness, removes vege- Altered Fire Regime. An increase decreases in flow variability, increases tation, and degrades water quality. in catastrophic fire has resulted in in turbidity and sedimentation, and Also, rutted Jeep trails can alter removal or reduction of the forest elevated water temperatures. stream flow paths. canopy and surface vegetation con- Increases in sedimentation result in tributing to accelerated erosion, a decrease of primary productivity. Invasive Non-native Plants. Riparian increases in suspended and bed-load Increased temperatures compromise corridors are prone to invasion by sediment, and increased peak flows habitat conditions for species adapted non-native plant species (Malanson following floods. Ash can increase to colder waters. 1993) and typically host relatively levels of nutrients, ions, pH, and tur- high percentages (25-30%) of non- bidity and decrease levels of oxygen Visitor Use. Trails in and adjacent native species. Tamarisk (Tamarix in aquatic systems. to riparian zones and hiking in slot ramosissima) and Russian-olive canyons can lead to increased ero- (Elaeagnus angustifolia) are invading Livestock Grazing. Long-term grazing sion and stream channel instability, riparian areas along most of the by livestock removes plant biomass, dispersal of invasive non-native perennial waterways in SCPN, includ- alters plant population age structures, species, increased levels of water and ing the Escalante, Little Colorado, and simplifies plant composition and air pollutants, and changes in water Rio Grande, Animas, Chaco, and structure (Schultz and Leininger

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1990). These changes reduce abun- dance and diversity of riparian- dependent species including birds (Dobkin et al. 1998, Scott et al. 2003). Also, trailing, trampling, and widespread reductions in vegetation cover by cattle can increase upland runoff, reduce channel stability, and initiate cutting (Cooke and Reeves 1976, Brinson et al. 1981).

Alteration of Upland Watersheds. Activities of concern include livestock grazing, forest management, urban/ exurban development, emissions of industrial and agricultural pollutants, and stream flow diversion or regula- tion. Associated resource issues include increased transfer of soil and water resources, deposition of air- borne and waterborne pollutants, introduction of non-native plant and animal species, reduced groundwater recharge, lowered groundwater levels, and reduced stream flows. Organic pollutants, such as livestock excretion and pesticide use in urban and agri- cultural areas, can kill in-stream biota and affect potability. Metal contami- nants from upstream mines have similar impacts.

Five key degradation processes are predicted for aquatic and riparian systems (Figure 2-5, Table 2-4).

2.5 SPRINGS (see Supplement IV for full report)

Springs are important point sources of biodiversity and productivity in otherwise low productivity desert landscapes (Stevens and Nabhan 2002a, b). Aridland springs often function as keystone ecosystems, providing the only available water Vasey's Paradise, Grand Canyon National Park. PHOTO BY REBECCA HARMS, NAU and habitat in the landscape for many plant and animal species. Also, endemism is common due to adapta- tion to harsh conditions or the highly dissolved mineral content of some spring water. Springs occur in 14 of the 19 SCPN parks and are viewed as

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a significant resource by park man- system to maintain biotic components agers. A spring ecosystem includes the and the proper functioning of nutri- aquifer providing groundwater, the ent and hydrologic cycles. Variable spring orifice and associated biota, flow rates maintain diverse microhabi- and the biota supported by the post- tat conditions critical to spring biota. orifice surface flow. These features were integrated into the summary Geology and Geomorphology. conceptual model (Figure 2-6) and Geologic structure and composition are reviewed collectively below. of an aquifer (degree of fracture and faulting and rock type) influ- Drivers ence aquifer recharge rates and Regional Climatic and Atmospheric groundwater quality. Geomorphic Conditions. Precipitation is critical to characteristics determine the micro- the existence of springs. Constrained climate of a spring such as the by geology and geomorphic process- angle and aspect of the spring ori- es, precipitation sources infiltrate fice which, in turn, affect ambient variably permeable or fractured rock temperature and rates of ground- strata and follow groundwater flow water emergence. Rockfall and paths to surface openings. Size, fre- erosion can potentially alter the quency, and duration of precipitation geomorphology of a spring and events are key factors influencing subsequently microhabitat and spring water availability. microclimatic conditions.

Natural Disturbance. Flooding, Water Quality. Temperature, geo- sheetwash, rockfall, seismic distur- chemistry, and bacteria content all bance, and other erosional factors contribute to the composition of influence aquifer dynamics, lead to species assemblages present at changes in groundwater flow rates, springs. Biodiversity may be reduced and influence the position, shape, at mineralized springs with total and size of spring orifices. Flooding dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations and rockfall may kill existing plants of >1000 mg/L.; in general, fresh, and rearrange microsite topography, geothermal waters >30oC have providing colonization opportunities. reduced biodiversity. However, harsh Heavy precipitation may lead to environments created by unusual habitat patches for colonization by water quality conditions can lead to long-lived plant species. Subsurface adaptational endemism of spring- flow paths may become blocked or associated species. Water quality is new paths generated by seismic affected by flow rates, geology, pol- activities. Drought results in seasonal lutants, and grazing by ungulates. or erratic desiccation of spring ecosystems and reduces aquatic and Functional Groups wetland biotic diversity. Fire in sur- Riparian, Wetland, and, Aquatic rounding areas can modify water Habitats. Spring supported habi- flow rates and sediment load, result- tats and vegetation provide critical ing in the removal of above-ground animal habitat, improve water quality, vegetative growth, altered soil struc- promote nutrient cycling, and con- (top) Bubbling Spring, Canyon de ture and nutrient spiraling, and tribute to the net primary production Chelly National Monument. altered population dynamics. of aridland systems. The microhabi- PHOTO BY STEPHEN MONROE, NPS tat structure of spring ecosystems (middle and above) Modifications for Hydrologic Regime, Geology and determines invertebrate species livestock use are a common feature at Geomorphology, and Water Quality assemblages. Flow alteration and many Colorado Plateau springs. NPS ARCHIVE PHOTOS Hydrologic Regime. Water flow terrestrial and aquatic disturbances rates influence the ability of a spring eliminate or create new microhabitat


FIGURE 2-6. Summary conceptual model for spring ecosystems. Solid ovals are drivers and interactive controls. Solid rectangles are system components that are interactive controls. Dashed rectangles are stressors, and dotted rectangles are key degradation processes associated with each stressor (described in Table 2-5). Text for interactive controls indicates components or structure followed by function. Text for stressors shows proximate effects.

and, in turn, influence the dynamics Stressors and Degradation promise ecological functioning at of spring biota. Processes springs. Non-natives may displace Climatic Change. Changes in pre- native species, leading to changes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Vertebrates cipitation regime can dramatically plant and animal composition, and and Invertebrates. Vertebrates and alter spring systems. Increased flood- altering nutrient cycling and trophic invertebrates occupy various niches in ing or drought can alter aquifers dynamics. the aquatic and water-mediated and thus flow levels, variability, and terrestrial component of spring sys- microhabitat structures, leading to Ungulate Grazing and Foraging. tems. Species are key components of substantive changes in biota. Ungulates can alter spring ecosys- trophic structures, consuming plant tems by removing vegetation cover, and animal material and providing Non-native Invasion. Invasion by altering plant and invertebrate food for higher-trophic organisms. non-native species can greatly com- assemblages, increasing erosion, and

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contaminating surface water (Grand Local Flow Regulation and Visitor Use and Park Management. Canyon Wildlands Council 2002). Diversion. Local diversion by facili- Recreational use at springs leads to tram- ties constructed over the point of pling around the outflow, degrading Groundwater Depletion. emergence (spring boxes, spring native plant communities and potentially Changing spring flows may arise houses, etc.) alters the natural flow introducing invasive non-native plants. from several anthropogenic impacts regime of many springs. The con- Managers often try to protect springs by on aquifers. Groundwater extrac- struction of cattle tanks on upstream prohibiting visitors or creating discrete tion may partially or wholly empty sources can affect flow variability at trails to the springs. Such actions may individual springs or entire com- some springs. Flow diversion or reg- actually damage spring ecosystems. plexes of springs resulting in ulation interrupts natural disturbance Fencing out livestock may allow excess habitat fragmentation, increased events such as flooding and alters vegetation to develop, eliminating sur- isolation of spring ecosystems, and structural, functional, and trophic face water and threatening aquatic interrupted biologic processes at attributes of springs. species persistence (Grand Canyon micro-site-regional spatial scales. Wildlands Council 2002). Surfaced trails Urbanization leads to an increase in Pollution. Groundwater and surface may eliminate leaf litter and prohibit impervious surface area over an water pollution strongly affect movement of spring-associated land aquifer, decreasing the potential for springs ecosystems. Upstream agri- snails and other invertebrate species. recharge. Changes in land use and cultural groundwater pollution may livestock grazing intensity can shift ecosystem nutrient dynamics to Four key degradation processes are change the role of plant-water use entirely novel trajectories, creating predicted in response to individual in a watershed and cause a subse- conditions to which few native and interacting stressors (Figure 2-6, quent reduction of recharge rates. species may be able to adapt. Table 2-5).

Table 2-5. Key degradation processes and stressors, their ecosystem effects and potential measures for springs ecosystems.

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In this chapter, we present the deci- the selection and proposed integra- proposed vital signs followed. This dis- sion-making process used by SCPN tion of biotic and physical vital signs. cussion led to a significant number of to identify, prioritize, and select the modifications to the initial vital signs network vital signs and the outcome 3.1 IDENTIFICATION AND list and provided each participant with of those efforts. Included in this SELECTION OF VITAL SIGNS a good understanding of each vital process were seven topical work- sign that remained for consideration. shops conducted in 2004 to identify 3.1.1 Workshops and evaluate potential vital signs as The SCPN held a series of workshops To prioritize the final list of proposed well as a final workshop held with during the winter and spring of 2004 vital signs, participants evaluated each the SCPN Science and Technical to identify and evaluate candidate vital vital sign by completing a standardized Advisory Committees to select the signs (Table 3-1). The workshops were form (Appendix G) containing a set of network vital signs. The conclusion attended by 76 experts from NPS, criteria statements in four areas (eco- of this process was the selection of cooperating agencies, private organi- logical significance, management 22 vital signs for the SCPN. Of these, zations, and the academic community. significance, feasibility and cost of 17 were identified as the network’s The workshop objectives were to pro- implementation, and data utility and core vital signs—those for which we duce 1) a prioritized list of vital signs application; Table 3-2). Participants will develop monitoring protocols to monitor relating to the workshop responded to the statements, which and implementation plans over the topic, and 2) group recommendations were scored, normalized, summarized next five years. regarding desired scales, approaches, using the vital signs database (Support data sources, and/or monitoring ques- Document A), and then presented for This chapter also describes how we tions to be addressed in applying further evaluation and discussion. used conceptual models developed some of the recommended vital signs. for major Colorado Plateau ecosys- Participants nominated potential vital Selection Criteria tems in the vital signs selection signs using a standardized form We used a three-step process to process. We discuss how key ecosys- (example in Appendix G), and then a conduct evaluations of candidate tem characteristics influenced both lengthy discussion of this initial list of vital signs (Tables 3-2 and 3-3).

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument. PHOTO BY CHRIS LAUVER, NPS

Table 3-1. SCPN topical workshops held in 2004 to identify and evaluate candidate vital signs.

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Table 3-2. Criteria used to evaluate candidate SCPN vital signs.

Table 3-3. Criteria considered by workshop participants during selection of vital sign sets.

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Candidate vital signs were divided into two categories: 1) ecosystem compo- nents and processes or stressors and 2) physical drivers. In the first step, we used ecological and management sig- nificance of ecosystem components processes or stressors to distinguish higher ranking signs from those of less importance. This step did not apply to the physical driver category as the criteria were not separated into ecological and management signifi- cance. The second step involved using differential weightings to maintain the emphasis on ecological and manage- ment significance but also include feasibility, cost, and data utility and Park resource managers and SCPN staff selected monitoring vital signs through application for a more complete a series of workshops. NPS ARCHIVE assessment of implementing monitor- ing of the evaluated vital sign. In Step 3, participants were asked to consider A major objective was to review and develop monitoring protocols to the criteria shown in Table 3-3 while consider the results of previous address the core vital signs over the formulating 3 sets of vitals signs: the workshops (Table 3-1). In reviewing next five years. Secondary vital signs single, most important sign, the best the workshop results, participants include important monitoring needs set of 3, and the best set of 5 vital were asked to consider the following that only apply to a few parks or signs. This exercise fulfilled several questions: network-monitoring needs that objectives: 1) it produced a quick ranked in the second tier of priori- expert opinion of the most important • Are the resulting prioritized vital ties. The network has no immediate vital signs, 2) it provided an uncon- signs consistent with park priorities plans to develop protocols or imple- strained comparison or check of the regarding the most important ment monitoring for these vital signs other two evaluation steps, and 3) it resource concerns and issues? but will reconsider once the core highlighted sets that were generally • Are the resulting prioritized vital vital signs are implemented and as complementary and spanned a range signs consistent with important partnership opportunities arise. of scales and ecological levels. ecosystem elements identified through literature review and con- Once the vital signs selection process A complete summary of each topical ceptual model development? was completed, network staff visited workshop, including discussion sum- each of the nineteen parks in the maries and scores can be found in Participants used and discussed the network. Park staff and resource Appendix G. An overall summary of workshop results as a basis for managers from SCPN park units vital sign scores can be found in developing a final list of core and were asked to evaluate the network Support Document A. secondary vital signs for long-term vital signs list in terms of individual monitoring within the SCPN. park priorities (Appendix H). During 3.1.2 Selecting Network this evaluation period, network staff Vital Signs 3.2 SOUTHERN COLORADO worked with park resource managers A final workshop was held in May PLATEAU NETWORK VITAL to develop a list of park-specific vital of 2004 to select core and secondary SIGNS signs not addressed by the network vital signs. In attendance were mem- The outcome of the selection work- list (Appendix H). Although these bers of the SCPN Science Advisory shop described above and the specific monitoring needs will not be Committee, Technical Advisory resulting list of core and secondary addressed directly by the network, Committee, and Board of Directors, network vital signs are shown in SCPN staff will assist with protocols, a USGS scientist representing the Table 3-4. The core vital signs reflect sampling design, or other aspects Northern Colorado Plateau Network, the highest priorities for network of monitoring plan development and SCPN staff. monitoring. The SCPN plans to when needed.

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Table 3-4. SCPN vital signs organized within the NPS Ecological Monitoring Framework. Core vital signs are indicated in bold text.

3.3 RATIONALE FOR systems (Karr 1991, 1996, De Leo During our topical workshops on SELECTION OF VITAL and Levin 1997, Noon 2003). dryland and montane systems, Mark SIGNS AND LINKAGE TO Miller and John Vankat, respectively, CONCEPTUAL MODELS Use of Conceptual Models to set the stage for identifying candi- The bond between the integrity of Inform the SCPN Vital Sign date vital signs by presenting their the environment and human welfare Selection Process conceptual models for these sys- provides the ultimate rationale for Because monitoring all of the tems. During the nomination phase monitoring (Noon et al. 1999). processes and biotic components of the workshop, posters of these Monitoring the state or condition of that contribute to ecological integri- models were available to inform the ecosystems (i.e., ecosystem structure ty is impractical, we used expert nomination process. Other, less for- and function) is of primary impor- opinion and conceptual models of malized conceptual models were tance because the current system key Colorado Plateau ecosystems to presented at 3 other topical work- state influences resistance and guide the selection of a more limit- shops, including a presentation by resilience to disturbances and stres- ed suite of vital signs. The intent of Mike Scott of a draft version of the sors and determines natural diversity conceptual models for monitoring riparian/aquatic model. and associated processes. SCPN has design is not to represent the full adopted monitoring ecological complexity of a system, but rather Key Ecosystem Characteristics integrity as the overarching theme to use current knowledge to identify and Implications for Monitoring of our long-term monitoring efforts. a limited set of integrative elements Several key ecosystem characteristics The concept of ecological integrity that provide information on multiple can be discerned from the dryland, provides an appropriate foundation aspects of ecosystem condition montane, and riparian/aquatic con- for assessing the state of ecological (Noon 2003). ceptual models that were developed.

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A partial listing of these characteristics, One of the features highlighted in the tion condition (e.g., decreases in tree their implications for monitoring, and dryland models was the overriding productivity) and related disturbance the related vital signs are shown in influence of precipitation and extreme patterns may provide early warning Table 3-5. Spring ecosystems were climatic events in driving ecosystem of ecosystem change. The models selected as a core vital sign because dynamics and thus the significance of also emphasize the role of degrada- of their high conservation value and monitoring climate. According to the tional processes in influencing their status as focal ecosystems in models, fire plays a secondary role as dryland system dynamics. From the arid landscapes. For this reason, we a driver of dryland systems, and only dryland topical workshop, three are taking a fairly comprehensive at the upper end of the moisture/fuel factors that affect ecosystem sus- approach to monitoring springs by gradient. For these communities (e.g., ceptibility to degradation were including most of the important pinyon-juniper woodlands), ecosystem identified based on the dryland ecosystem components as indicated dynamics are a function of the inter- models: 1) inherent ecosystem char- in the springs conceptual models action of fire, climate, and insect acteristics that determine ecosystem (Supplement IV). outbreaks. Thus, monitoring vegeta- resistance and resilience to natural

Table 3-5. Key ecosystem characteristics, implications for monitoring, and related vital signs. For dryland, montane, and riparian ecosystems.

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Table 3-5 continued. Key ecosystem characteristics, implications for monitoring, and related vital signs.

disturbances and stressors, 2) ecosys- major driver of montane systems and represent important leading indica- tem exposure to anthropogenic must be monitored because of the tors of change in riparian and stressors that drive degradational potential interactions with fire and aquatic ecosystems. The models fur- processes, and 3) ecosystem condi- insect outbreaks to cause changes in ther illustrate that because of strong tion—the functional status of vegetation condition. longitudinal and lateral connectivity ecological processes required to sus- to upland ecosystems, monitoring of tain the ecosystem. The models show Models of riparian and aquatic riparian vegetation condition (e.g., tight linkages between soil resources ecosystems emphasize that these increases in non-native plant popula- and vegetation, emphasizing the systems are primarily driven by tions) and stream macroinvertebrates importance of integrating vegetation streamflow variability and geomor- (e.g., changes in functional feeding condition monitoring with monitor- phic processes associated with groups) provide important insights ing of soil stability and upland channel change (Table 3-5). The into degradational changes in water hydrologic function. models also indicate a tight linkage quantity and quality. These changes between flood plain soil resources are the result of climatic factors as In contrast to the dryland models, fire and moisture availability for riparian well as broad-scale, anthropogenic was featured in the montane models vegetation. These processes and changes in water- and land-use such as the primary driver of montane interactions provide the dynamic as groundwater extraction and live- ecosystems. The montane models physical template upon which ripari- stock grazing. Thus, monitoring depict various historical and current an and aquatic biotic communities climate and land-cover patterns at a fire regimes for the major montane are organized. Therefore, direct watershed scale is important for ecosystems, but across all systems monitoring of stream discharge, interpreting change in riparian and there is a clear need to monitor fire, cross-sectional channel geometry, aquatic ecosystems as well, since climate, and vegetation in order to related shallow alluvial ground- these factors influence the delivery ascertain ecosystem dynamics. As water dynamics, and riparian of water and sediment from the with dryland systems, climate is a vegetation structural complexity uplands to receiving streams.

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4.1 INTRODUCTION urements are taken. The total collec- a simple random sample, a random This chapter presents the sampling tion of sample units is the (target) process is used to select the desired design for the network’s core vital population. This set of units, also number of sampling units from a signs. The design describes the known as the sampling frame, is the known population. In this scheme, process for selecting sampling loca- pool from which samples are select- each member of the population has tions and the allocation of sampling ed in order to make inferences to the an equal chance of being included effort through time among locations. rest of the unsampled population. in the sample. In stratified random A primary goal of the design is to Sample units can be represented as sampling, the sampling frame is provide unbiased and defensible points (e.g., springs), linear features divided into sub-populations by inferences from sample observations (e.g., stream segments), or areas using mutually exclusive strata. The to the intended target populations. (e.g., mapped soil types, or pixels desired number of samples is then A brief overview of sampling defini- from remotely sensed images). randomly selected from each sub- tions and concepts is presented Responses are the measurements population. Strata are artificial below followed by a description taken on the sample units. The col- constructs defined prior to sample of the statistical sampling designs lection of responses from the chosen selection that should never change, the SCPN employs for vital signs sample units is called the sample. regardless of conditions on the monitoring. Probability sampling is where each ground (Geissler and McDonald sampling unit in the finite population 2003). Strata are typically defined 4.2 SAMPLING CONCEPTS has a known probability (a selection such that variation within a AND DEFINITIONS probability) of being included in a is less than among strata. Reasons Survey sampling is the foundation sample. Each unit can have the same for using this technique include for the SCPN monitoring plan. selection probability (equal probabili- increased precision, increased effi- Defining the finite (target) popula- ty sampling) or the probabilities may ciency, and greater information tion and using probability sampling vary among groups of units (unequal about sub-populations (Cochran are two critical aspects of survey probability sampling). Where possi- 1977, Lohr 1999). Vegetation types sampling (Cochran 1977). A given ble, we have chosen a probability have often been used as strata, but, area for which inferences are desired sampling approach to monitor vital because vegetation may change in (e.g., a forest or stream within a signs of the SCPN. a particular area over time, this park) can be partitioned into a finite approach leads to problems with collection of non-overlapping sample Two common methods for selecting data analysis and future sample units. In general, sample units are samples are simple random sampling selection decisions. Domains are sub- predefined entities in which meas- and stratified random sampling. For populations (e.g., vegetation types)

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Table 4-1. Tabular and notational representation of three example revisit designs. “X” in a cell denotes that all members of the panel are sampled during that occasion.

defined after sampling occurs, can commonly used for revisit designs is signs. (1) Grid-based sampling uses a be changed, and are used during a pair of digits. The first digit is the grid of points to represent units of a data analysis to derive estimates of number of consecutive occasions target population and draws a prob- the sub-populations of interest. that a panel is sampled, the second ability sample. (2) Linear-based is the number of consecutive occa- sampling delineates sampling units Most sample designs of the SCPN sions that a panel is not sampled along linear segments and draws a rotate field sampling efforts through (McDonald 2003). For example, if a probability sample. (3) List-based various sets of sample units over single panel is visited every sampling sampling constructs a list of sample time. A group of sample units that occasion, its revisit design can be units and either draws a probability are always sampled together during expressed as [1-0] (Table 4-1). If a sample or attempts to census all a sampling occasion is called a panel. panel is to be sampled once, then units. (4) Index sites are used to col- Sample effort can be rotated among never revisited, the notation is [1-n]. lect information on areas or points panels through time, which effective- The notation [1-0, 1-4] signifies that that were hand-picked to yield ade- ly rotates field effort among sample units in panel one are visited every quate data on a particular vital sign. units and therefore space. The way occasion and units in the second set These samples are usually picked as in which units in the population of panels are visited once every 5 “representative” sites, and statistical become members of a panel is called years (Table 4-1). inference to a larger area is not pos- the membership design (McDonald sible because a probability sample 2003). The pattern of visits through 4.3 SAMPLE SELECTION was not employed. (5) For certain time to all panels is the revisit SCPN monitoring efforts are using vital signs, sampling is not required design, which specifies the temporal five fundamentally different schemes because they can be monitored at sampling schedule. The notation for collecting measurements on vital the full spatial extent of a park.

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Table 4-2. Summary of sampling design, spatial allocation of samples, and revisit plan for monitoring of SCPN vital signs.

1 Co-located, co-visited as part of the Integrated Upland Protocol 2 Co-located, co-visited as part of the Integrated Riparian Protocol * Potential revisit plan for medium-size parks (revisit plan varies by park size).

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For these vital signs, a census is adding new samples to monitor a visitation is taking measurements on employed to observe status and particular vital sign when funding multiple vital signs during a sampling trends. This chapter contains a sec- levels or other resources are occasion. Monitoring multiple vital tion for each of the five sampling increased. SCPN is also using judg- signs at the same place and time schemes with further details pre- ment samples for spatial allocation increases operational efficiency sented by vital sign. A summary of in a limited number of situations. because costs associated with travel, sampling designs, spatial allocation This method is used to monitor plot set-up, and sampling are much of samples, and revisit plans for water quality at sites that have a less than those associated with indi- vital signs monitoring is presented long history of data collection, to vidual and separate monitoring in Table 4-2. monitor night sky and natural efforts. The SCPN will employ the soundscape condition, and to moni- efficiencies of co-location and co- 4.4 SPATIAL ALLOCATION tor springs in parks that contain visitation in two integrative efforts: AND FACTORS INFLUENC- relatively few occurrences of these monitoring three vital signs associated ING SAMPLE SELECTION ecosystems. with upland soils and vegetation and Traditionally, methods used to deter- monitoring the aquatic resource vital mine sampling units in a population The SCPN monitoring program will signs including water quality, aquatic generally have employed a form of consider several factors when select- macroinvertebrates, and the inte- random sampling along with an ing sampling sites including grated riparian protocol. A mixed attempt to distribute the units such accessibility, travel costs, and efficien- approach will be used to select that good interspersion is achieved cy. Given the often steep, rugged, aquatic rescource monitoring sites: throughout the population. The and remote terrain that exists within a linear-based design, use of judge- SCPN uses two methods to spatially many SCPN parks, access to many ment to identify suitable index sites, allocate sample units. The majority of potential sampling sites is either pro- or a combination of the two. vital sign sampling units are chosen hibitively expensive, presents safety with the relatively new Generalized issues, and/or is practically impossible 4.5 GRID-BASED SAMPLING Random-Tessellation Stratified (GRTS) for human ground or water-based Grid-based sampling is the primary design (Stevens and Olsen 2004). surveys. Two parks in particular spatial sampling method for vital The purpose of the GRTS design is to (GLCA and GRCA) have vast signs associated with upland soils, produce a spatially balanced random amounts of backcountry with limited upland vegetation, and bird moni- sample, and it can be applied to access and present significant sam- toring. The sampling frame is populations consisting of points, pling challenges. To address these constructed as a randomly oriented linear features, or areas. In general, issues and to modify the sampling grid of equidistant points. The points GRTS disperses sample units evenly frame accordingly, geospatial data represent the center of a sampling over the extent of the sampling sets of accessibility and travel costs unit or plot. Some points may then frame and is more efficient than sim- will be created for each park unit be eliminated because of accessibility ple random sampling (Stevens and using the Landscape Access Model problems and/or prohibitive costs Olsen 2004). The method uses a (developed by S. Garman, NCPN). In associated with access. Unique and function that maps two-dimensional this model, steep slopes (e.g., > 50%) non-overlapping sampling units thus space (area) into one-dimensional within a park are delineated, classified represent the accessible target popu- space (linear) and employs a restricted as inaccessible, and excluded from the lation of a vital sign. Specific details randomization algorithm to produce sampling frame. Travel costs (i.e., of grid-based sampling are described randomly ordered linear results that slope-corrected hiking distances) are below for each vital sign. are spatially well-balanced (Stevens also created using road and trail layers and Olsen 2004). The flexibility of and DEMs (digital elevation models). 4.5.1 Upland Vital Signs the GRTS design allows for maintain- Selection probabilities are then SCPN staff will concurrently monitor ing a spatially balanced random assigned to discrete travel cost classes vegetation composition and struc- sample in each of the following (e.g., < 2 km, 2 to 4 km, and > 4 km). ture, upland hydrologic function, cases: selecting any number of sam- and upland soil/site stability at co- ple points from the resulting output, Another method of sampling sites located ground-based sampling replacing samples that are lost efficiently is to co-locate and co-visit plots. The initial sampling frame is because in the field they are discov- multiple vital signs. Co-location is a randomly-oriented systematic grid ered to be part of the nontarget monitoring multiple vital signs at the of evenly-spaced (100m) points population or are inaccessible, and same physical location, and co- (e.g., Figure 4-1A). Inaccessible

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SAMPLING DESIGN i k h t c d a a n p e a u r y o W t f i l s n i i n b i s o s i n s t g e a i c c s c l o l A a t g ) i n B v i ( l . d p ) n . m N a l a a P s p 3 - C u 0 4 g N 3 e , n l h i n t b r i a a o t w T i m e r n n l i a o p n G m m . w a r S o s o , f h S s ) m T S n a R g r T i g s G R o e ) r G d ( p D t ( i e e l . s i ) p m v S a e m C r r a l F R s ( e N s n m ( e a o t s i p e d s - t t i n l i s l a a l r c p i s a d g c e i e o l g h c t o o n l c h a o e l t i c t a e E w b g ) ) r y l y C l a ( t a m . i ) o t a a o N w t p L P s r C d w o f N o n l , g l a n n a e i l a h c b S i a m s p r d s s a e n c a G m c . 0 d a S 0 n n , 1 a a l M h p e t t i A U a L w e e ( r e n s c o e m t c o s a t n d r f a d n t e g s a s i n S u i d ( l s g s p r e n e t i m i y k s a i a l l S h a ) a g c t i A n g a ( i o . d l t w l o n o a c e i h e t s m t a r e u p e g n S y r o . a a l t 1 M t - o s l 4 o a w c E t n l R e o e i U h t v t G a a I f r F N t o

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points will be eliminated from the processes of the water cycle, min- These and other related questions initial frame (e.g., Figure 4-1B). We eral cycles, and energy flow. are evaluated through the use of will also eliminate points that occur • Differences in the kind, proportion, domains (e.g., vegetation types) in riparian areas (using a geospatial and production of the overstory during data analysis. data set of riparian corridors created and understory plants due to dif- for each park using 10m digital ele- ferences in soil, topography, The process for selecting ecological vation models). Upland vital signs climate, and environment factors, sites to monitor is as follows. First, are measured on 3 evenly-spaced, or the response of vegetation to ecological sites that represent the tar- parallel transects within a 1 ha plot management. get ecological systems are selected. centered on the grid point. The The potential area (or sampling frame) 100m grid spacing ensures unique, There are several advantages to is evaluated in terms of its size and non-overlapping sampling plots. using ecological sites to determine accessibility. If the potential sampling target areas for sampling. Ecological frame poses significant limitations for SCPN has adopted the characteriza- sites are defined by a US federal monitoring because of these issues tion of landscapes into ecological agency (NRCS), and because SCPN (e.g., the extensive desert grasslands sites as the basis for sampling site parks span four US states, it’s impor- and shrublands below the rim at selection for monitoring upland vital tant to use an upland classification Grand Canyon NP), the frame is signs. An ecological site is a land- system that is at least regional in refined to include ecological sites that scape division with specific physical scope. Individual ecological sites are are reasonably accessible and are of characteristics that differs from other expected to occur in distinct areas high management concern to park landscape divisions in its ability to on the landscape. This will be useful resource managers. produce distinctive types and in stratifying natural variation in amounts of vegetation and in its areas (parks) with similar climates. For ecological sites without signifi- response to management (Society Because ecological sites contain cant accessibility problems, the for Range Management Task Group characteristic soils that have devel- sampling frame is adjusted by mask- on Unity in Concepts and oped over time, they can often be ing out inaccessible sites (using the Terminology 1995). Ecological sites distinguished from each other on the Landscape Access Model) and a have characteristic soils, hydrology, basis of other soil development fac- geospatial data set of travel cost is plant communities, and disturbance tors, including parent material and created. Sampling sites are then allo- regimes and responses (Natural landscape position (Bestelmeyer et cated using a GRTS sample (e.g., Resources Conservation Services al. 2004). As defined, ecological Figure 4-1D) with unequal probabili- 2003). A map of four ecological sites are not expected to change, ties. Selection probabilities are based sites (derived from NRCS soil map and SCPN is using them as strata to on travel costs and the spatial extent units and associated data) within define upland target populations. of the targeted ecological sites. Wupatki National Monument is Additionally, ecological sites are shown in Figure 4-1C as an example. characterized by state and transition In designing a network-wide sampling The following criteria (from models that describe vegetation approach for these vital signs, we rec- http://esis.sc.egov.usda.gov/ESIS/ dynamics and management interac- ognized that there are vast differences About.aspx, accessed during May tions with each site. These models in SCPN park sizes and decided that 2006) are used to differentiate one are useful for determining which one size does not fit all. Six of the tar- ecological site from another: ecological sites are more resistant get parks are less than 3,000 ha in and resilient to disturbances size, and nine of the remaining target • Significant differences in the species (Bestelmeyer et al. 2004). Monitoring parks range from 13,254 to 505,868 or species groups that are in the ecological sites will also help to ha. The revisit design will vary by park characteristic plant community. ensure that status and trend obser- size (e.g., small, medium, and large). • Significant differences in the rela- vations will be interpretable within For the six small parks (AZRU, ELMO, tive proportion of species or and among the interrelated upland NAVA, PETR, SUCR, WACA), one species groups in the characteristic vital signs. Many of our monitoring objective is to employ an operationally plant community. questions pertain to changes that efficient design by sampling parks • Soil factors that determine plant occur within the predominant vege- that are geographically close to one production and composition, the tation types (e.g., what are the another. For the nine larger parks, hydrology of the site, and the trends in bare soil and canopy cover two potential revisit designs are functioning of the ecological within pinyon-juniper woodlands?). shown in Table 4-3. A number of

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Table 4-3. Two potential revisit designs for monitoring upland vital signs.

(a) Split-panel design [2-3, 1-4] (each X represents a minimum of 3 plots).

(b) Panel design adapted from a partially augmented serially alternating design (Urquhart and Kincaid 1999). Each X represents a minimum of 3 plots.

factors may influence the selection of the [2-3] design, points 10 to 12 to across these parks. The initial target a final revisit design, including analysis panel 2 of the [1-4] design, and so populations for bird monitoring are a of spatial and temporal variation from on until all panels are filled. Both of subset of the target ecological sites sampled plots after the first several the designs in Table 4-3 balance the designated for upland vital signs years of monitoring, simulation stud- need to revisit sampling sites in con- monitoring. For each of the target ies, analysis of other existing data secutive years to collect trend data ecological sites, the sampling frame where available, and consultation and account for annual variations is a randomly-oriented systematic with local experts. with the need to spread samples out grid of points that are evenly spaced to capture spatial variation within 250m apart. Depending on topogra- Panel membership is accomplished targeted ecological sites. phy and the spatial extent of the by assigning sequential sets of sam- target populations, monitoring is pling points from the GRTS output 4.5.2 Upland Bird Communities conducted on either 2 linear tran- to individual panels. As an example, Upland bird communities will be sects consisting of 15 points each using the panel design shown in monitored in 5 SCPN parks (BAND, (spaced 250m apart) or on 3 linear Table 4-3a, the first 3 points of the GRCA, MEVE, PEFO, and WUPA). transects of 10 points each (spaced GRTS output could be assigned to The goal is to provide status and 250m apart), for a total of 30 sites panel 1 of the [2-3] revisit design, trends of bird communities in several per target population. Using GIS, points 4 to 6 to panel 1 of the [1-4] upland habitats (e.g., pinyon-juniper each point in the sampling frame is design, points 7 to 9 to panel 2 of woodland) that commonly occur evaluated for its use as a starting

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point in locating either a 10-point or second list-based sampling frame is around the newly detected popula- 15-point linear transect within the composed of known locations of tions. Although this method is target ecological site(s). Thus, the nesting sites derived from previous cost-efficient, it will introduce bias sampling frame is modified to include and current sampling. Sampling sites for which we will account using only those points capable of includ- are selected from the list-based estimators developed for adaptive ing the desired transect length (2.25 sampling frame for each target eco- designs (Thompson 2002). km or 3.5 km). The sampling frame is logical site by using an unequal further adjusted by masking out inac- probability GRTS sample. Selection 4.6 LINEAR-BASED cessible sites (using the Landscape probabilities are based on accessibili- SAMPLING Access Model). In addition, a geospa- ty (travel costs), and inferences are Linear-based sampling is the primary tial data set of travel costs is created. made within target populations from spatial sampling method for vital Sampling sites (and corresponding sampled to unsampled nests. The signs associated with riparian and transects) are then allocated by gen- revisit design is to be determined. aquatic habitats. These vital signs will erating a GRTS sample with unequal be monitored within linear corridors probabilities. Selection probabilities 4.5.3 Invasive Exotic Plants associated with flowing water. River are based on travel costs. Each sam- Detection of new populations of and stream populations are resources pling point along a transect is invasive exotic species prior to estab- that occur only on a linear-based sampled 3 times per year (during the lishment in areas of management network within a bounded area breeding season), and the revisit significance is the focus of this vital (Stevens and Olsen 2004). To sample design is yet to be determined. sign. The initial sampling frame is a linear resources, the finite popula- randomly oriented systematic grid of tions are often divided into discrete At each of the transect points, a points with a large spacing (> 500m) and arbitrary fixed-length intervals 10-minute survey is performed. within each park, which is then (Stevens and Olsen 2004). SCPN has Observations of birds by sight or call adjusted by masking out inaccessible adopted this approach. The location are recorded along with the distance areas. Predictive models of exotic and extent of SCPN target popula- from point center to the first detec- plant invasion and dispersal will be tions are connected, non-overlapping tion of an individual. We will use the used to create geospatial zones of segments of streams and rivers. histogram of detection distances to invasibility for each park. These Specific details of linear-based sam- estimate a function that accounts for zones differ in their degree of vul- pling are described below for each decreased probability of detection at nerability to invasion based on vital sign. large distances. The software pro- several factors including (1) propag- gram Distance (Laake et al. 2004) ule pressure and invasion pathways, 4.6.1 Integrated Riparian performs estimation of the detection (2) resource availability, (3) physical The integrated riparian vital signs function and the density for each site attributes, and (4) vegetation including riparian vegetation compo- species (Buckland et al. 2004). cover. Sampling sites are allocated sition and structure and channel Observations of target species are by generating a GRTS sample with morphology will be monitored con- also recorded while walking between unequal selection probabilities due currently at co-located sampling point locations along the transect. to invasibility. Sampling sites are locations at twenty sites selected Target species are those that are members of a single panel moni- using a linear-based sampling uncommon or of special concern and tored once every five years ([1-4]). design. Additionally, streamflow will that typically are under-represented We will rotate monitoring effort be monitored at nineteen of these on point-count surveys. Detection among the SCPN park units (e.g., sites, and depth to alluvial ground- distances are recorded for target four parks monitored per year). water will be monitored at eight of species. However, given the tendency the sites. The monitoring focus is on for a limited number of observations Given the vast areas of management intermittent and perennial streams. of these species, transect observa- significance in the SCPN, detecting At four parks (BAND, GLCA, GRCA, tions generally provide status rather new occurrences of exotic species is and PEFO), water quality, aquatic than trend information. likely to be a rare event. Thus, we macroinvertebrate, and integrated are employing adaptive sampling for riparian vital signs are co-located at For monitoring nesting success of this vital sign. Using decision rules sites selected using linear-based selected bird species, SCPN employs that vary by species and by the spa- sampling. A list of streams selected a dual frame approach to sampling. tial extent of new populations, for integrated riparian monitoring is Within the target ecological sites, a sampling intensities can increase presented in Table 4-4.

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Table 4-4. Preliminary list of perennial (P) and intermittent (I) rivers and streams selected for monitoring riparian and aquatic vital signs. “L” designates vital signs monitored using linear-based sampling, and “In” denotes those signs monitored using index sites.

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morphic setting) stream segments of the main stem or tributaries. For each stream system, the sampling frame is composed of sampling units that are equal distance apart. The frame is subdivided into stream segments for the main stem and segments for tributaries. The linear length of sampling units within the main stem is 500m and 300m for units within tributaries. The alloca- tion of samples is determined from an unequal probability GRTS sample. Selection probabilities are based on geomorphic settings with certain set- tings (e.g., alluvial) having higher probabilities. Figure 4-2 shows an example of this design.

The revisit design varies by vital sign. Accessibility is a common issue for monitoring all of the vital signs in Table 4-4, and thus selection proba- bilities are based on travel costs. A rotating panel design similar to that used for monitoring upland vegeta- tion will be used for sampling riparian vegetation and channel morphology, with a revisit plan of once every five years [1-4]. These vital signs can be affected by random disturbance FIGURE 4-2. Example of the sampling design for monitoring riparian and events such as high-magnitude flood- aquatic vital signs. ing. If extreme flooding occurs in a (A) Sampling frame composed of points spaced 300m apart in Gulch and associated stream with an integrated riparian tributaries in Glen Canyon NRA. (B) A GRTS sample of 20 sampling locations. monitoring site, the site will be sam- pled as soon after the event as possible. Frequent site visits are required to adequately characterize A hierarchical, process-based stream to classify stream channels by their stream flow and depth to groundwa- classification guides the sampling potential response to disturbances. ter, and the revisit plan is quarterly. design. The classification system is Selected watersheds of individual Water level sensors and dataloggers based on three fundamental physical stream systems represent the bounds used to monitor these vital signs will conditions: 1) the availability of of the targeted populations. collect and store data at continuous water, 2) the spatial and temporal to monthly intervals. Aquatic macroin- patterning of sediment storage, and There are multiple sampling frames vertebrate vital signs co-located with 3) the balance between stream corresponding to individual stream integrated riparian monitoring sites power and resistance of riparian veg- systems (e.g., the in will be revisited once a year [1-0]. etation. Classification is accomplished GLCA), and frames are stratified by using topographic maps, remotely stream order (i.e., main stem or trib- 4.6.2 Riparian Bird sensed data, and field verification. utary). Thus, inferences are made Communities The objective of the classification is from sampled to unsampled stream Riparian bird communities will be to group functionally similar physical units within similarly classified (valley monitored in five SCPN parks (BAND, environments and channel types and segment, channel reach, and geo- CACH, GLCA, GRCA, and MEVE).

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The target populations are the ripari- an corridors along the streams and Table 4-5. Water quality sample types and parameters. rivers in these parks that are the focus of riparian and aquatic vital sign monitoring (Table 4-4). The bird sampling frame corresponds to indi- vidual stream systems. As with the monitoring of upland bird communi- ties, points are sampled along linear transects and spaced 250m apart. The number of sampling points required for monitoring riparian bird communities within a stream ecosys- tem is to be determined. The sampling points selected for riparian and aquatic vital sign monitoring (using a GRTS sample with unequal • existence of potential threats to Water quality field parameters meas- probabilities) represent the starting water quality ured at each selected stream site locations for the riparian bird tran- • presence of pristine conditions include dissolved oxygen, pH, specific sects. If the initial starting point is • availability of a significant amount conductance, water temperature, insufficient to fully include the mini- of historic water quality data, turbidity, and streamflow. Water mum transect length within the and/or samples collected at each index site target riparian corridor, additional • water quality data is needed to will be analyzed for a suite of parame- points are selected from the GRTS meet the resource management ters including major ions, nutrients, sample (while maintaining the spa- needs at selected parks. selected trace elements, and in some tially balanced order). Each sampling cases bacteria (Table 4-5). Additional point along a transect is sampled 3 A list including eight streams selected parameters will be selected at certain times per year (during the breeding for stream water-quality monitoring sites based on known or suspected season), and the revisit design is to using a GRTS sample with unequal water-quality issues. Parameter selec- be determined. probabilities is presented in Table 4-4 tion was restricted to parameters and on Figure 4-3. most likely to produce a data set use- 4.6.3 Water Quality of Streams ful for assessment of status and The SCPN water quality monitoring The revisit design for monitoring trends in park water-quality condi- effort is designed to collect and stream water quality is monthly to tions and early warning of threats to interpret water quality data to sup- quarterly and will be determined on a water quality. port NPS and network water quality site-specific basis. Monitoring these objectives including determination of sites will provide representative data at 4.7 LIST-BASED SAMPLING status and trends in the water quality site and network levels because most List-based sampling is the spatial of selected streams. Priorities for of the significant surface-water sampling method for monitoring ter- monitoring include impaired stream sources identified in the scoping phase restrial arthropods and is one of the reaches and relatively pristine waters. of vital sign selection are included in spatial sampling methods for vital The stream water-quality and inte- this sample, and the revisit plans will signs associated with spring ecosys- grated riparian vital signs will be be designed to obtain water quality tems and aquatic habitats (water co-located at seven streams in SCPN data representing a wide range of quality and macroinvertebrates). parks. The aquatic macroinvertebrate hydrologic conditions (Appendix I). The location and extent of target vital sign will also be co-located at The final panel design for monitored populations for arthropods will be most of these sites. Sample design is streams will be largely contingent on developed from grids (modified to described in Section 4.6.1. Streams schedules and budgets of other moni- include only highly accessible sites), were chosen because one or more of toring efforts and partnerships that while target populations for springs the following conditions were met: can be developed. Monitoring of the are from inventories. Both are organ- aquatic resource vital signs, including ized into lists to derive sampling • presence of documented water water quality, will be directly managed locations. Further details of list-based quality impairments and funded by the SCPN. sampling are described below.

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4.7.1 Ground-Dwelling adequate data on a particular vital These temperature and rain gauges will Arthropods sign. The use of index sites is justi- have a recording frequency ranging The monitoring of ground-dwelling fied because of the high costs of from 15 minutes to 1 hour. arthropods will be limited to a few the surveys or equipment involved sites within pinyon-juniper woodland in the measurements. In some cases 4.8.3 Wildland Values habitat in two SCPN parks (GRCA (e.g., water quality sites), an index The status and trends of two vital and MEVE). The sampling frame (one approach was selected to maintain signs, night sky condition and natural for each park) consists of a list of continuity with existing data sets. soundscape condition, are monitored accessible upland sites (derived from Statistical inference to a larger area at index sites that were independently the upland vital signs grid-based (such as a park or portion of a park) selected. Sampling sites are located sampling frame) of the target habi- is not possible because the index within parks that contain substantial tat. Sampling sites are allocated by sites were not chosen with a proba- wilderness or backcountry areas. The generating a GRTS sample with bility sample. However, monitoring revisit design is to be determined. equal probabilities. Arthropod sam- these vital signs at specific sites is pling will occur three times during appropriate because they contain 4.8.4 Water Quality of Streams the growing season, and the revisit the vast majority of the population The focus of the SCPN water quality design is to be determined. of monitored subjects or the spatial monitoring effort is to collect and fluctuation in measures across a interpret water quality data to support 4.7.2 Spring Ecosystems larger area is inconsequential for NPS and network water quality objec- Due to the large number of springs long-term monitoring purposes. tives. Emphasis is on perennial and and relatively few spring types at intermittent streams in the SCPN GLCA, this is the only park where 4.8.1 Air Quality parks. Thirteen streams in SCPN parks we will use a list-based sampling At present, air quality monitoring is function as index sites for water quali- scheme. The sampling frame is a list occurring at Bandelier NM, Grand ty monitoring (Table 4-4 and Figure of known spring locations derived Canyon NP, Mesa Verde NP, and 4-3). Streams were chosen because from previous and current invento- Petrified Forest NP. Three vital signs one or more of the following condi- ries. Sampling sites are selected by (ozone, wet and dry deposition, tions were met: using an unequal probability GRTS and visibility and particulate matter) sample. Selection probabilities are will continue to be monitored at • presence of documented water based on accessibility (travel costs), existing stations within these parks quality impairments groundwater flow systems, and by programs external to the SCPN • existence of potential threats to spring type. Inferences are made I&M effort. water quality within the park from sampled to • water quality data is needed to unsampled springs that are part of 4.8.2 Weather and Climate meet the resource management the same groundwater flow system Climate conditions are monitored needs and spring type. The revisit design at existing climate and precipitation is to be determined. monitoring stations. An inventory In addition, specific index water-quality of climate stations across all NPS monitoring sites at each stream were 4.8 INDEX SITES I&M networks is currently being selected where: Twelve vital signs are monitored conducted by the Western Region using index sites. These include vital Climate Center (administered by • a significant amount of historic signs associated with air quality, NOAA, National Oceanic & water quality data are available weather and climate, wildland val- Atmospheric Administration). When • an active stream flow gage exists, ues, and water quality of streams. completed for SCPN, the inventory or Vital signs associated with springs, results will be used to evaluate the • known water quality threats exist seeps, and tinajas (i.e., water quality, existing protocols, metadata, and vegetation composition and structure, spatial coverage of climate data Water quality parameters, stream flow spring flow, and macroinvertebrates) across the network. and, in some cases, aquatic macroin- are also monitored using index sites vertebrates are monitored at selected in all parks except Glen Canyon. To support interpretation of trend sites (Table 4-4). Stream flow gages Index sites are specific points or loca- data from the upland monitoring are associated with eight of the select- tions that are hand-picked by lead plots, additional micro-climate sta- ed water quality monitoring sites investigators and monitored to yield tions may be located near these plots. (Appendix I).

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FIGURE 4-3. Map of proposed water quality monitoring sites at index springs, streams, and rivers.

Currently water quality monitoring water quality at index sites within and water quality. The spring index programs exist in only two SCPN streams at BAND, CACH, GLCA, sites are distributed in parks that parks. Water quality monitoring that GRCA, and MEVE (Table 4-4). The contain few occurrences of these partially addresses critical data needs revisit design for aquatic macroinver- ecosystems and in GRCA, a park is ongoing in GLCA and GRCA. tebrates is annual [1-0]. Sampling that has significant numbers of Details regarding the scope and should be conducted during base- springs and tinajas (Table 4-6 and utility of these monitoring efforts flow conditions, and timing of Figure 4-3). Proposed index sites at are presented in Appendix C. sampling will be determined on a GRCA were selected to represent site-specific basis. Appropriate index springs discharging from principal The revisit designs for monitoring periods established by State or aquifers of the north and south stream water quality field parame- Federal agencies will be used. rims, to include a variety of spring ters that will be measured at each types, and to include pristine and selected stream site are described in 4.8.6 Spring, Seep, and Tinaja developed sites. Both CACH and Section 4.6.3. Ecosystems MEVE have numerous seeps and Four vital signs are monitored at springs. Information describing 4.8.5 Aquatic springs, seeps, and tinajas using these resources is limited and moni- Macroinvertebrates of Streams index sites. The vital signs are vege- toring sites at these parks will be The aquatic macroinvertebrate vital tation composition and structure, selected following further inventory sign is monitored in conjunction with flow, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and reconnaissance.

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4.9 CENSUS the greater park ecosystem occurs for methods will be employed at the Satellite imagery is used to monitor the land use/land cover and vegeta- pixel level to assess direction and three vital signs associated with tion condition vital signs. magnitude of spectral change. Pixels ecosystem patterns and processes. with spectral changes of sufficient These vital signs are: land use/land 4.9.1 Land Use/Land Cover magnitude are assigned to new cover and landscape vegetation pat- and Landscape Vegetation land cover or vegetation types. The terns, vegetation condition, and Patterns costs associated with acquiring and vegetation disturbance patterns. This vital sign monitors the status classifying digital images require a Monitoring is a census approach and trends in the composition, minimum revisit design of [1-4], or (rather than sampling) because extent, and distribution of land once every five years. Given the cen- imagery is acquired for the full spatial use/land cover and vegetation types sus approach, there is no membership extent of the park or for the full on lands within and adjacent to design. Monitoring will be rotated extent of the greater park ecosystem. SCPN parks. The data source for among the SCPN park units with The greater ecosystem includes the monitoring is satellite imagery with approximately four parks monitored area of the park and the lands sur- medium spatial and spectral resolu- every year. rounding it that potentially influence tion (e.g., digital Landsat data). the park area. Criteria used to define Satellite scenes will be classified to 4.9.2 Vegetation Condition the greater ecosystem include gravi- create geospatial layers of the initial This vital sign monitors vegetation tational flows (erosion potential), conditions (i.e., baseline maps) of greenness and productivity on park animal habitat corridors for dispersal land cover and vegetation indicators. lands and the surrounding land- or migration, and potential corridors With subsequent monitoring and scape. Digital data from the MODIS for exotic plant invasion. Monitoring additional imagery, change detection instrument aboard the Terra satellite

Table 4-6. A preliminary list of springs (S) and tinajas (T) selected for monitoring four vital signs.

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(with a spatial resolution of 250 m) Monitoring data of associated vital pixel level to assess direction and will be used as surrogates to monitor signs (climate, vegetation disturbance magnitude of spectral change. Pixels vegetation greenness, annual produc- patterns, and vegetation structure and are assigned to new disturbance tivity, length of season, and date and composition) are used to understand classes if spectral changes of suffi- level of maximum production. changes to vegetation condition. cient magnitude are detected. Methods using MODIS Normalized Monitoring data of associated vital Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) 4.9.3 Vegetation Disturbance signs (vegetation condition, climate, data (available every 16 days) are Patterns and vegetation structure and compo- employed to derive vegetation pheno- This vital sign includes fire, insect, sition) will be used to understand logical metrics. Seasonal and annual and disease disturbance and is moni- large-scale changes to vegetation NDVI curves are used to track vegeta- tored using satellite imagery with disturbance patterns. The costs tion green-up times, production levels, medium spatial and spectral resolu- associated with acquiring and classi- and senescence periods. Costs associ- tion (e.g., digital Landsat data). fying digital images require a ated with acquiring and processing Satellite scenes will be classified to minimum revisit design of [1-4], or MODIS data are relatively low. These create baseline maps that delineate once every five years. Given the cen- data are analyzed year-round for each the type, extent, and severity of dis- sus approach, there is no membership greater park ecosystem. Vegetation turbance. Existing maps will be used design. Monitoring will be rotated condition is monitored seasonally and (when available) in cases involving among the SCPN park units (e.g., annually, and there is no membership large and recent disturbances. With four parks monitored every year) design. Changes in vegetation condi- subsequent monitoring and addi- with a flexible schedule that is capa- tion are identified with year-to-year tional imagery, change detection ble of responding to large-scale comparisons of NDVI curves. methods will be employed at the disturbances at a given park.

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Monitoring protocols are detailed 5.1 PROTOCOL in the ecosystem characteristics that study plans that explain how data are DEVELOPMENT relate to ecological integrity (see to be collected, managed, analyzed, Over the next five years (FY2006 – Table 1-3) and in the use of the and reported and are key compo- FY2010) the SCPN plans to develop Jenny-Chapin model as the founda- nents of quality assurance for natural 13 monitoring protocols that will tion for developing conceptual resource monitoring programs cover 17 vital signs (Table 5-1). Most models (Chapter 2). The end result (Oakley et al. 2003). In order to col- of these protocols will be developed is a set of vital signs that will be lect high-quality and consistent data in collaboration with the Northern complementary in their information over a period of decades, monitoring Colorado Plateau Network. A wide content and provide an overall protocols include detailed standard range of academic and USGS scien- assessment of the condition of park operating procedures for all aspects tists are involved in protocol ecosystems. By designing an inte- of the project (Beard et al. 1999). As development. Draft protocols will grated monitoring program that procedures are refined or modified undergo peer review by 3 subject takes advantage of these comple- through time, those changes are area experts, including a statistician. mentary aspects, the resulting documented within the protocol. Table 5-2 summarizes the rationale monitoring data will provide a and objectives for vital signs included “weight of evidence” approach in While one may think of monitoring in these 13 monitoring protocols. detecting changes in overall ecosys- protocols as dealing primarily with Detailed protocol development sum- tem integrity. In some cases, an sampling methods, effective proto- maries are included in Appendix J. integrated monitoring approach may cols are more comprehensive. also provide insight into the underly- Monitoring projects that incorporate 5.2 STEPS TOWARD AN ing causes of ecosystem change. an initial investment in carefully INTEGRATED MONITORING defining objectives, identifying target PROGRAM We can optimize the utility of the populations, developing appropriate Throughout the scoping and vital monitoring program by early consider- sampling designs, and determining signs selection process, there was ation of important relationships how monitoring results will be ana- explicit recognition that SCPN parks between vital signs and an evaluation lyzed and reported are more likely to required a balanced monitoring pro- of which monitoring objectives require succeed over the long term (Oakley gram incorporating vital signs to integrated data collection and/or inter- et al. 2003). Consequently, these represent multiple spatial scales and pretation. This is particularly important elements are essential to the moni- ecological levels, as well as monitor- because financial resources and logis- toring protocols that will be ing of key components, processes, tic constraints preclude our ability to developed through this program. and stressors. This need was reflected measure everything everywhere.

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Table 5-1. Vital signs, protocols and current cooperators for the SCPN. NCPN and SCPN are collaborating in protocols indicated in bold.

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MONITORING PROTOCOLS . s e v i t c e j b o d n a n o i t a c i f i t s u j , n o i t a c o l g n i r o t i n o m , s n g i s l a t i v e r o c N P C S . 2 - 5 e l b a T

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK . s e v i t c e j b o d n a n o i t a c i f i t s u j , n o i t a c o l g n i r o t i n o m , s n g i s l a t i v e r o c N P C S . d e u n i t n o c 2 - 5 e l b a T

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MONITORING PROTOCOLS . s e v i t c e j b o d n a n o i t a c i f i t s u j , n o i t a c o l g n i r o t i n o m , s n g i s l a t i v e r o c N P C S . d e u n i t n o c 2 - 5 e l b a T

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK . s e v i t c e j b o d n a n o i t a c i f i t s u j , n o i t a c o l g n i r o t i n o m , s n g i s l a t i v e r o c N P C S . d e u n i t n o c 2 - 5 e l b a T

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As we develop sampling designs and smallest interval of space measured measurement efforts are typically monitoring protocols, we must con- (O’Neill and King 1998). Replication poorly replicated, even if the intend- sider trade-offs concerning the scale, includes a spatial component (the ed spatial scale to which they apply scope, and statistical power of our number of independent sample plots is large (e.g., climate stations). sampling efforts (Hall 2000). The dispersed through space) and a tem- need for integration will be one ele- poral component (the sampling As we drafted protocol develop- ment of those discussions. frequency or number of samples ment summaries, we identified a through time). Measurement effort number of park monitoring ques- A preliminary task toward developing refers to the amount of information tions that depend on data from a framework for integrated monitor- that is gathered at each sampling two or more linked vital signs. It ing is to define the spatial scales and site and may also include processing was also apparent that a number of replication and measurement efforts time (e.g., for remotely sensed data). ‘big picture’ monitoring questions associated with particular vital signs. could only be addressed through This framework will assist us with Table 5-3 provides a preliminary more complex combinations of consideration of the best means for assessment of these attributes for monitoring results. As we continue integrating monitoring data collected SCPN core vital signs. Landscape- developing the monitoring pro- across disparate spatial and temporal level vital signs may generally be gram, we will begin to describe the scales. It will also be useful in assess- considered as extensive monitoring data integration needs for the main ing the relative cost and effort components (i.e., extensive cover- SCPN monitoring themes. This will associated with particular vital signs. age, low to moderate measurement include consideration of park moni- We have modified a framework effort with coarse-grained data). toring needs within the context of developed by Jenkins and colleagues Many plot-based efforts are interme- specific ecosystem models. Figure (2002) to help with this task. Spatial diate in terms of spatial scale, 5-1 provides an example of com- scale consists of two parts: extent, measurement effort, and replication. bining results from multiple vital or the total area over which observa- Those vital signs that require expen- signs to answer ‘big picture’ moni- tions are made, and grain, the sive instrumentation or high toring questions.

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK . s n g i s l a t i v . e e t r u o b c i r t t N a P h C c S a e e r h o t f ) r k o n f i p t , r e o g f n f a e r o t , n w e o l l m e e y r , u n s e e a r e g , m e u l d b n ( a h , g i t r h o o t f f w e o l n o m i o t r f a c e i l l a p c s e l r a , r e e l n a e g c s a l s e a t i t a c a i p d n S i . g 3 n i - d 5 o c e l r o b l o a T C

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MONITORING PROTOCOLS . s m e t s y s o c e d n a l p u N P C S o t g n i t a l e r s n o i t s e u q g n i r o t i n o m d e t a r g e t n i f o e l p m a x E . 1 - 5 E R U G I F

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Data become information through the 6.1 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Security – All information products will process of analysis, synthesis, model- The SCPN approach to data man- be maintained so that appropriate lev- ing, or other types of interpretation. agement is user oriented, the user els of access are provided to SCPN and Data management provides a means ranging from SCPN staff to cooperat- park staff. Existing technologies will be for organizing, documenting, and ing scientists and park managers. utilized to protect I&M data from cor- archiving data so that the original The primary goal of the SCPN data ruption or loss, ensuring the long-term information potential is maintained management program is to ensure security and integrity of the data. through time. This is particularly the quality, clarity, security, longevity, important for long-term programs and availability of SCPN I&M data. Longevity – Many factors combine to where the lifespan of a data set will increase the longevity of a data set: likely be longer than the careers of Quality – SCPN I&M data will be proper documentation, organization, those who developed it. A data man- used by park staff to inform man- and standardization to modern tech- agement system that can effectively agement decisions regarding park nologies. SCPN will ensure that all data produce, maintain, and distribute natural resources; it is essential that sets are completely documented. Data monitoring results is central to the these data be accurate and com- sets will be organized in a logical and success of the I&M Program. plete. Appropriate quality assurance consistent manner so that nothing is lost measures will be employed through- over time. As software and hardware This chapter summarizes the gener- out the process of collecting, technologies change, data sets will be al data management standards; processing, and maintaining data. updated so that they remain readable expected roles and responsibilities; Good data stewardship habits and and accessible. and data processing, storage, and attitudes will be encouraged. distribution guidelines for the SCPN. Availability – I&M data can only be A more detailed description can be Clarity – Confusing and cryptic data useful to park managers if it is easily found in the SCPN Data Management sets are of little use and can be easily available in a timely manner and in a Plan (Supplement V), which will be misinterpreted. All data and informa- useful form. Information products will revised periodically. Detailed data tion products will be accompanied be distributed to park management on management procedures for moni- by complete documentation so that a regular schedule and, when appro- toring projects will be based on users will be aware of the applica- priate, will be made available to a these guidelines. bility and limitations of the data. broader audience.

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Table 6-1. Roles of SCPN network staff and cooperators working 6.2 SOURCES OF NATURAL on monitoring projects. RESOURCE DATA The existence of numerous potential sources of ecological data about park natural resources requires SCPN to prioritize data management. Some sources of natural resource data include:

• Inventories • Monitoring • Special focus studies completed by parks • External research projects • Studies by other land management agencies on adjacent lands • Resource impact evaluations related to park planning and compliance regulations • Resource management and Table 6.2. SCPN infrastructure service or support providers. restoration work

SCPN will be able to maintain the highest level of control on data collected through the network monitoring program, and thus our data management efforts will focus on these data. However, the goal is to apply the same standards, proce- dures, and attitudes about data management to other sources of natural resource data over the long- term and to work toward raising the level of data management for proj- ects originating outside the I&M program. Our data management staff may also serve as consultants for new park monitoring projects, contributing good data management practices to those efforts.

6.3 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES Data management and stewardship is the responsibility of all participants in SCPN network I&M activities; it requires true collaboration among many people with a broad range of tasks and responsibilities. Good habits and attitudes are as important as standards and procedures. Although primary responsibility resides with the data manager, project

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managers, and GIS specialist who archives will be repositories for pack- (Figure 6-1) provide the backbone make up the core data management ages of data and information that for planning and executing data team, all SCPN staff and cooperators can easily be redistributed and will management procedures for each are responsible for ensuring data have extremely limited write access. monitoring project. Specific proce- stewardship is practiced throughout dures and guidelines for each of the life of a monitoring project. Rather than developing a single inte- these activities are explained in the Table 6.1 summarizes the roles and grated database system, SCPN will data management plan. Data design responsibilities of SCPN staff and develop stand-alone project data- refers to the design and develop- cooperators with respect to data bases that share design standards ment of project data sheets, the stewardship. and centralized lookup tables for database, and database applications. data shared across projects. These During data acquisition, data are col- 6.4 INFRASTRUCTURE AND modular databases allow for greater lected in the field or acquired from SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE flexibility to accommodate each other sources, entered into the proj- Management and dissemination of project’s needs, and sufficient stan- ect database, and verified. Data will monitoring data is made possible by dardization can ensure the ability to then be validated to ensure they are information technology infrastructure aggregate and summarize data within normal ranges, summarized, and system architecture. Infrastructure across multiple projects. SCPN cur- and exported for analysis. refers to the network of computers rently uses Microsoft Access for all Documentation will be completed, and servers that information systems project databases and is investigating data and information products will are built upon. System architecture the need to move to a client-server be distributed, and both digital and refers to the application, database sys- relational database management sys- analog products will be archived. tem, repositories, and software tools tem such as Microsoft SQL Server. that make up the framework of the Data and documentation take differ- SCPN’s data management enterprise. 6.4.2 National System ent forms and are maintained in Architecture different places throughout the SCPN relies on cooperative agree- The national I&M program provides phases of a project. These phases ments with Northern Arizona several repositories for hosting SCPN can be modeled as a sequence of University (NAU) and the USGS information products and applica- events and tasks which involve inter- Colorado Plateau Research Station tions for summarizing park data at a action with the following items: (CPRS) as well as NPS regional and national level. The applications are national information technology per- available online and allow users to • Raw data – Analog data recorded sonnel and resources for maintenance access basic natural resource infor- by hand on field data sheets and and support of computer and net- mation for SCPN parks: digital files from handheld com- working infrastructure (Table 6-2). puters, GPS receivers, telemetry • NatureBib – master database for data loggers, etc. 6.4.1 SCPN System Architecture natural resource bibliographic ref- • Working database – A project- Working files, master libraries, and erences specific database for entering digital archives will be stored on • NPSpecies – master database for and processing data for the cur- SCPN file and data servers. A tem- species occurrence records and rent season (or other logical time plate project directory for databases, evidence (voucher specimens, ref- period). This may be the only files, and project documentation will erences, observations or data sets) database for short-term projects be used for each monitoring project. at each park with no need to distinguish cur- This directory will contain working • NR-GIS Metadata and Data Store – rent season data from the full set files for which all project team mem- master database of metadata for of validated data. bers will have read/write access. GIS and natural resource data sets • Certified data and metadata – Master libraries are repositories for and a repository for that data Completed data and documenta- final information products and certi- tion for short-term projects, or one fied databases. Master libraries will 6.5 DATA MANAGEMENT season of completed data for be organized according to type – PROCESS AND WORKFLOW long-term monitoring projects. databases will be stored together, Within the context of a monitoring Certification is a confirmation by documents will be stored together, project SCPN data management the project manager that the data etc. – and only certain SCPN person- tasks can be divided into several have passed all quality assurance nel will have full access. Digital types of activities. These activities requirements and are complete

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FIGURE 6-1. Data management activities within the context of a monitoring project.

and ready for distribution. Metadata Current season data from the work- changes to certified data. records include detailed information ing database must pass all quality • National databases and reposito- about project data needed for prop- assurance steps prior to upload into ries – Applications and repositories er use and interpretation. this master project database. maintained at the national level, • Master database – Project-specific • Reports and data products – primarily for the purpose of inte- database for storing the full set of Information that is derived from gration among NPS units and for validated project data used for view- certified project data. sharing information with coopera- ing, summarizing, and analysis. • Edit log – A means of tracking tors and the public.

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• Archived data – Digital and hard- monitoring project. Databases will be NPS and external data will be copy data stored and maintained standardized where possible following acquired only with complete docu- for the long-term. the I&M recommended guidelines for mentation and metadata. These data database structure and naming con- will undergo limited processing and 6.6 WATER QUALITY DATA ventions developed in the Natural quality control by SCPN staff to Water quality data collected as part Resource Database Template (NRDT) ensure compatibility with SCPN proj- of the network’s monitoring program and the Recommended Naming ect databases, if necessary. Legacy have distinct data management Standards. SCPN will also develop data from parks will be evaluated requirements. Data must be managed standardized lookup tables for data and prioritized for digitizing or con- according to guidelines from the NPS elements shared across many moni- verting to modern database formats. Water Resources Division (WRD; toring projects. Database design will Some external ancillary data, such as http://www.nature.nps.gov/water/info also be guided by a data modeling climate data, will be acquired when anddata/index.cfm). NPS WRD has process involving the creation of three needed in subsets rather than stored selected the Environmental Protection types of data models: conceptual, by SCPN in its entirety. Agency’s national STOrage and logical, and physical. RETrieval water quality database 6.9 QUALITY ASSURANCE, (STORET) as the standard for archiving 6.8 DATA ACQUISITION AND DATA SUMMARIZATION, NPS water quality data. WRD main- QUALITY CONTROL AND EXPORT FOR ANALYSIS tains a copy of STORET and requires Data managed and utilized by the Quality assurance, data summary, and that all I&M chemical, physical, and network will originate from three data analysis are the responsibility of biological water quality data be types of sources: within the network, the project managers; however, the archived in this copy. SCPN will use other NPS data collection efforts, data manager will provide tools to the Microsoft Access database applica- and outside the NPS altogether. project managers to facilitate these tion (called NPSTORET) developed by three activities. Data validation WRD to fulfill this requirement. • Network Data – any data produced (ensuring measures are within nor- from projects that are initiated mal ranges and logical) procedures The USGS/WRD-Colorado developed (funded) by the SCPN I&M Program will be detailed in each monitoring a water quality database that or projects that in some way involve protocol and will generally include enables assessment of the temporal the I&M Program. outlier detection and other and spatial distribution characteristics • NPS Data – any data produced by exploratory analyses. of water quality data available for the NPS that did not involve the the 19 SCPN park units. For the pur- inventory and monitoring program. Routine data summaries will be pro- pose of developing the Water Quality • External Data – any data produced duced after data have been verified Vital Signs Monitoring Plan, this by agencies or institutions other on a schedule specific to each project. database provides a useful tool for than the National Park Service. Summaries will generally be automat- evaluation of historical water quality ed within the database application, of the waters in and surrounding SCPN staff are responsible for the but park-specific data reports can be SCPN park units and determination acquisition and quality control of net- produced for management needs. of historical and current water quality work data. Project crew leaders and Automated exports will also be conditions in and near these parks. members are primarily responsible for included in each database application SCPN plans to maintain and regularly data collection, data entry, and verifi- to enable project managers to export update the water quality database cation of data acquired from field subsets of data in a format ready for through data retrievals from data collection. Each monitoring proj- import into specific statistics or other NPSTORET or STORET, enabling it to ect protocol will detail procedures for analytic software programs. serve as a dynamic tool for the net- these data acquisition steps based on work’s long-term water quality guidelines outlined in this plan. As 6.10 DOCUMENTATION monitoring and analysis needs. data are collected and entered into a Dataset documentation is the respon- database, quality control procedures sibility of the project manager and 6.7 DATA DESIGN will be used to increase accuracy and data manager. All datasets will be doc- The data manager and project man- limit transcription mistakes. A verifi- umented with formal metadata, using ager will collaborate on design of cation procedure will be used to Federal Geographic Data Committee field data sheets, database structure, check for and correct any transcrip- and USGS National Biological and database application for each tion mistakes. Information Infrastructure standards.

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6.11.2 Dissemination and Table 6-3. Repositories for SCPN information products. Access Dissemination of monitoring and information products from SCPN will follow these guidelines:

• data will be easily located and acquired • only data subjected to full quality control and quality assurance meas- ures will be released • data will be accompanied by com- plete metadata • sensitive data will be identified and protected from unauthorized access

Information products will be made available primarily through websites and clearinghouses which will allow users to search for and download reports, summarized data, maps and metadata, and other associated infor- mation. Distribution means will include (but may not be limited to):

Documentation accompanying data- • Executive Order No. 13007: Indian • SCPN public website base applications will include a Sacred Sites • NR-GIS Metadata and Data Store manual with instructions for using • National Parks Omnibus • Service-wide databases, such as the application, an entity relationship Management Act (NPOMA; 16 NPSTORET, NPSpecies, and diagram, a data dictionary, and pro- U.S.C. 5937) NatureBib gramming code documentation. • National Historic Preservation Act • Regional, Network, or Park data (16 U.S.C. 470w-3) servers protected with read-only 6.11 ACCESS AND • Federal Cave Resources Protection access ARCHIVING Act (16 U.S.C. 4304) • FTP sites, CDs, DVDs, or hard drives, • Archaeological Resources as appropriate 6.11.1 Data Ownership and Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 470hh) Sensitivity 6.11.3 Archiving and Storage SCPN data products are owned by All monitoring information products Digital and analog information prod- the National Park Service provided will be vetted for sensitive data prior ucts will be stored, archived, and under OMB Circular A-110, Section to making them available to the gen- maintained in a variety of repositories 36. The Freedom of Information Act eral public. Classification of sensitive (Table 6-3). Digital products resulting (FOIA) establishes that the federal I&M data will be a shared responsi- from monitoring projects will be government, the NPS included, must bility that includes network staff, archived on SCPN file servers and provide access to non-protected park resource management staff, national file and data servers and data and information of interest to park superintendents, and investiga- protected from catastrophic loss by the public through reading rooms tors working on individual projects. regular, automated backups to exter- or the Internet. Park management has ultimate nal media. Analog products will be responsibility for deciding which archived to NPS standards by individ- The NPS is directed to protect infor- information is sensitive and should ual park facilities or approved non-NPS mation about the nature and not be released to the public. The institutions. At the termination of a location of sensitive park resources network has ultimate responsibility project or at regular milestones, an under one Executive Order and four for ensuring that sensitive data are archival package will be prepared and resource confidentiality laws: not released to the public. delivered to the desired location.

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The information obtained through This chapter presents an overview of In general, the quantitative ecologist the SCPN monitoring program has how the SCPN proposes to analyze, and principal investigator for a particu- a wealth of applications including synthesize, and disseminate moni- lar project will collaborate on selection management decision-making, toring results to a wide variety of of analytic approaches for status and research, education, and promotion audiences in a timely manner. trends analyses. They will also share of public understanding of SCPN responsibilities for conducting and park resources. Park managers are 7.1 DATA ANALYSIS reporting the analyses. Integrated the primary audience for the results To conduct an appropriate analysis analyses that examine patterns across of vital signs monitoring. Our goal of monitoring data, one must con- vital signs will require a team approach is to provide superintendents and sider the monitoring objectives, the where multiple principal investigators resource managers with the data spatial and temporal aspects of the will collaborate with the quantitative they need to make and defend sampling design used, the intended ecologist. An exception to these ana- management decisions and to work audiences, and management uses lytical activities is with the air quality with others for the benefit of park of these data. Selection of specific vital signs; analyses and reports of air resources. Other key audiences for analytical methods should occur fol- quality are produced by NPS-ARD and monitoring results include park plan- lowing determination of monitoring other agencies (EPA-CASTNET and ners, interpreters, researchers and objectives and sampling design and IMPROVE). other scientific collaborators, and before sampling. Each monitoring the general public. To be effective, protocol will contain detailed infor- To provide a context for data analysis, monitoring data must be analyzed, mation on analytical tools and a brief conceptual overview of five interpreted, and provided at regular approaches for data analysis and types of analyses is presented below. intervals to each of these audiences interpretation including rationale for More specific details of the proposed in a format they can use. With these a particular approach, advantages analyses for the SCPN vital signs are varied constituencies, it is important and limitations of each procedure, presented in Table 7-2. to analyze SCPN monitoring data at and standard operating procedures several different scales, and the (SOPs) for each prescribed analysis. 7.1.1 Parameter Estimation same information needs to be dis- General categories of analysis for The most common type of analysis tributed in different formats to SCPN vital signs are presented in for SCPN vital signs will be parame- resonate with different audiences. Table 7-1. ter estimation.

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Table 7-1. Categories of analysis for SCPN vital signs.

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DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORTING . s n g i s l a t i v N P C S r o f s e s y l a n a d e s o p o r p f o y r a m m u S . 2 - 7 e l b a T

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK . s n g i s l a t i v N P C S r o f s e s y l a n a d e s o p o r p f o y r a m m u S . d e u n i t n o c 2 - 7 e l b a T

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This can involve either the estimation when populations are categorized simple nor too complex and is bio- of the state or condition of a given into domains of interest (e.g., vegeta- logically meaningful. A companion resource (status) or the change in that tion types). objective is to use information- resource state over time (trend). This theoretic approaches (Burnham and analysis focuses on measuring and 7.1.2 Hypothesis Testing Anderson 2002) to compare the rela- describing the attributes of a popula- Related to detecting change in tive strength of competing models. tion in terms of its distribution and parameter estimates over time, we Models can be evaluated and ranked structural features. Using this method will also use hypothesis testing for using criteria such as how well data requires an understanding of the dis- other selected purposes. In scientific fit the model and presence of exces- tribution from which the samples are settings, hypothesis testing is a key- sive parameters. drawn such as the bias in the esti- stone approach in experimental mate of central tendency and the research to determine effects of 7.1.4 Bayesian Approaches precision or variability in the data. If treatments. For our purposes, this We will consider use of a fourth ana- the expected value of the estimate method will be used when the status lytical approach, Bayesian statistical (e.g., the mean from repeated sam- of a given resource is tested against methods, as an alternative to tradi- ples) is equal to the true value of the reference values, such as legal thresh- tional, frequentist statistics. In parameter, then the estimator is con- olds (e.g., water quality exceedance general, Bayesian approaches allow sidered unbiased. If the parameter standards) or desired conditions. We for the incorporation of previous estimate differs systematically from will use this method to test whether evidence (data) along with new infor- the true value (e.g., repeated samples or not conclusions can be drawn mation to estimate the probability of are always greater than the true about the relationship between the a particular outcome. This technique value), then the estimator is biased. parameter estimate and the reference may be useful during model selec- Precision reflects variation in the data; to which it is being compared. tion. These statistical methods are the greater the precision (or tendency based on Bayes’s theorem (Bayes of the samples to be close to the true 7.1.3 Model Selection 1763). More specifically, Bayesian value), the less variation in the data. A third analytical approach we will methods use the observed data to use is model selection to help better calculate the probability of the value Evaluation of trend estimates (and understand the dynamic relationships of a parameter. With additional data, determining if change has occurred among park resources, ecosystem Bayesian techniques draw on this over time) is a primary focus of our drivers, and stressors. One goal in prior (a priori) distribution to derive long-term monitoring program. SCPN developing models is to provide early a new (posterior) distribution that will employ several common statistical warning of abnormal conditions and incorporates the likelihood of the and graphical techniques to evaluate impairment of park resources and to data given the prior distribution. This trends. One easily interpreted method inform park management decision- approach is appealing because it of representing trends of the estimat- making. This approach considers takes into account all of the informa- ed parameters is to use graphs. This multiple lines of evidence within the tion accumulated and enables an simple technique plots values of the monitoring data to support develop- assessment about the probability of parameter through time, and can eas- ment of a suite of models that a given hypothesis being true, rather ily show if the parameter is increasing, represent multiple hypotheses con- than rejection or acceptance based decreasing, fluctuating, or not chang- cerning the desired relationships. on a specified threshold (i.e., the ing significantly. A common statistical The model selection approach will -level or p-value of traditional sta- tool for evaluating the relationship of be used in developing the SCPN inte- tistics). A Bayesian approach may be one or more independent variables to grated analysis reports (see 7.2.3). well suited in selecting models to a single, continuous dependent vari- relate the dynamic nature of park able is regression analysis. We will use Model selection will be based on the resources over the long-term because regression analysis to calculate the principle of parsimony, where the of its ability to continually incorporate trend slope of parameter estimates appropriate model should contain updates to parameter estimates as over time. In this case, determining if only enough (significant) parameters data accumulate. change has occurred is a form of to account for the variation in the hypothesis testing where the null data. One objective is to compare 7.1.5 Spatial Pattern Analysis hypothesis is that the slope is 0. models with varying numbers of We will use a fifth analytical Analysis of variance-based (ANOVA) parameters and then select an approach, spatial pattern analysis, to trend analysis will be employed “optimal” model that is neither too investigate landscape land cover and

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vegetation patterns and patterns per- Stewardship Plans, Fire Management 7.2.2 Trend Reports for Specific taining to early detection of invasive Plans) or management assessments Monitoring Projects exotic plants. Issues of concern include may require specific data summaries The primary purpose of trend reports patch dynamics of land cover and veg- to meet a particular need. Three types is to report on the following: etation types of interest and habitat of reports are described below, as fragmentation. An abundance of well as our other approaches to data • Patterns and trends in condition of landscape metrics (e.g., patch shape, dissemination. resources being monitored mean patch size, average perimeter- • New characteristics of resources area ratio) can be employed to 7.2.1 Annual Reports for and correlations among related evaluate spatial patterns, but many Specific Monitoring Projects vital signs indices have been shown to be corre- The primary purposes of annual • Degree of change that can be lated (Ritters et al. 1995). One reports for specific monitoring proj- detected by the current level of approach to this problem is to define ects are to: sampling, and independent components of spatial • Interpretation of monitoring data pattern and then develop a suite of • Summarize annual data and docu- in a park, multi-park, and regional metrics that measure the components ment monitoring activities for the context. (Li and Reynolds 1994, Ritters et al. year 1995). For example, spatial hetero- • Describe current conditions of the Examples of trend reports for SCPN geneity can be divided into number resources sampled, and include: and proportion of land cover types, • Provide data back to park managers patch shape, spatial arrangement of in a timely way to increase data util- • Water quality trends at Bandelier the patches, and contrast between ity and improve communication NM. neighboring patches (Li and Reynolds within and among SCPN parks. • Changes in riparian geomorpholo- 1995). We will use a similar approach gy and riparian vegetation on the and select a small set of metrics that Several of our monitoring projects Escalante River. individually describe independent pat- involve data collection each year (e.g., • Trends in mixed-conifer breeding tern components but collectively cover climate, water quality) and the proto- bird communities across three the complexity of spatial patterns. cols for these vital signs include SCPN parks. producing annual reports. For moni- 7.2 DATA REPORTING toring projects involving less frequent Trend reports will be prepared every We will use a variety of approaches to data collection (e.g., bird communi- 3 to 5 years for vital signs that are disseminate the results of the SCPN ties, riparian vegetation composition sampled annually and at a 10-year monitoring program to park man- and structure), summary reports will interval for vital signs that are moni- agers, scientists, and the general be prepared in those years when tored less frequently. Trend reports public. The network will regularly pre- sampling occurs. Where possible, will be peer-reviewed by an external pare two types of data reports for annual reports will be based on auto- 3-member panel. each monitoring project: annual data mated data summarization routines summary reports and long-term (3 built into the database for each pro- 7.2.3 Integrated Analysis to10 year) trend reports. These tocol. The automation of data Reports reports will form the basis for a summaries and annual reports will The primary purpose of integrated variety of secondary information facilitate the network’s ability to man- analysis reports is to examine pat- products. On a longer time interval, age multiple projects and to produce terns across vital signs and ecological synthetic reports that integrate trend reports with consistent content from factors to gain broad insights into data from linked monitoring projects year to year at timely intervals. For ecosystem processes and trends in will be prepared to describe the over- more complex analyses, data will be ecosystem integrity. all condition or integrity of a park analyzed using statistical software resource or ecosystem. In addition to packages. Reporting for some vital This may be accomplished through: these regular reporting formats, net- signs (e.g., water quality) will include work staff will work individually with an evaluation of current status • Qualitative comparisons of moni- SCPN parks to meet special park data against historical levels, reference toring trends with known or requests. Parks engaged in the prepa- conditions, or regulatory standards. hypothesized relationships ration of planning documents (e.g., Annual reports will be reviewed at the • Data exploration and confirmation General Management Plans, Resource network level. of hypothesized relationships (e.g.,

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ordination, classification, multiple Scientific Publications, regression, structural equation Presentations, and Outreach. modeling), and Publishing scientific journal articles • Development of predictive models. and book chapters is a key method for communicating advances in Examples of integrated analysis knowledge and improving the sci- reports for SCPN include: entific rigor of the monitoring program. Network staff, park scien- • Trends in water quality and tists, and collaborators will also macroinvertebrate communities periodically present their findings at on Capulin Creek. professional symposia, conferences, • Trends in terrestrial arthropod and workshops to communicate the assemblages, breeding bird com- latest findings and identify emerging munities, and vegetation dynamics issues relevant to natural resource in the pinyon-juniper woodlands monitoring and management. Along of Mesa Verde NP. with providing scientific reports, • Trends in landscape vegetation each scientist involved with network pattern, vegetation condition, and monitoring will be asked to con- mixed-conifer stand structure tribute materials (e.g., story ideas, across two SCPN parks. photographs) for use in newsletters, interpretive talks and exhibits, and These analyses will contribute to other media in order to inform and our understanding of ecological rela- entertain the general public. tionships and provide a weight-of- evidence approach to describing Internet and Intranet Websites. changes in ecosystem condition. Internet and NPS intranet websites are Integrated analysis reports will be contemporary tools useful for promot- prepared at 10-year (or longer) inter- ing communication, coordination, and vals and will be peer reviewed by an collaboration among the many peo- external 3-member panel. ple, programs, and agencies involved in the SCPN monitoring program. All 7.2.4 Data Dissemination written products of the monitoring The SCPN will provide monitoring data effort, unless they contain sensitive or through a variety of means including commercially valuable information that workshops, presentations, publica- needs to be restricted, will be posted tions, newsletters, and websites. to the SCPN internet website: http://www1.nature.nps.gov/im/units/ Network Workshops. Network scpn/index.htm. staff, park scientists, and collabora- tors involved in monitoring SCPN Documents available on this network vital signs will routinely meet with website will include this monitoring park managers to provide a briefing plan; all protocols; annual, trend, on the condition of park natural and integrated analysis reports; resources and discuss possible impli- and other materials of interest to cations for management. These NPS staff and our collaborators. workshops may be organized by Additionally, to promote communica- ecosystems or by broad monitoring tion and coordination within the topics. The workshops will serve to network, we will maintain a pass- increase the availability and utility of word-protected intranet website monitoring results for park man- where draft products, works in agers and promote communication progress, and other materials that among the contributing scientists require restricted access can be and park managers. shared within the program.

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This chapter provides information on Program for the 19 NPS units within important, long-term program the administrative organization of the network. (Figure 8-1). At the same time the the Southern Colorado Plateau BOD recommended a conservative Network, including staffing, opera- 8.1.3 Scientific Panel strategy toward allocating funds tions and partnerships. The primary purpose of the scientific toward permanent personnel and panel is to provide scientific guidance other fixed costs. The current plan 8.1 NETWORK to the SCPN in the design and imple- maintains these costs at below 65% ORGANIZATION mentation of the monitoring of the program’s operational base. A multi-level organizational structure program. Current panel members are: The staffing plan also maintains a has been identified to ensure that commitment to continuing partner- an effective I&M Program is created • Dr. Craig Allen, USGS/Jemez ships with USGS and our CESU and implemented for the SCPN Mountains Field Station partners. Approximately one third of (Appendix K: SCPN Charter). This • Dr. Jim Gosz, Sevilleta LTER the program’s budget will be direct- organizational structure comprises Program ed toward accomplishing monitoring a Board of Directors, Technical • Dr. Dave Lime, University of objectives through cooperative rela- Advisory Committee, Scientific Panel, Minnesota tionships. In addition, we will reserve and SCPN Staff. • Dr. Barry Noon, Colorado State 5% of the operational program University budget for continued research, 8.1.1 Board of Directors • Dr. Jack Schmidt, Utah State development, and analysis. Table 8-3 The Board of Directors (BOD) provides University describes SCPN positions and their guidance, oversight, and advocacy in • Dr. Tom Sisk, Northern Arizona responsibilities. the development and implementation University of the I&M Program for the 19 NPS 8.3 OPERATIONS units within the SCPN. 8.2 STAFFING In November 2005, the SCPN 8.3.1 Facilities 8.1.2 Technical Advisory Technical Advisory Committee and The SCPN is currently housed with Committee Board of Directors approved an oper- the Colorado Plateau Cooperative The Technical Advisory Committee ational staffing plan for the SCPN Ecosystem Studies Unit (CP-CESU) (TAC) is responsible for the scientific (Appendix L). The plan reflects the on the campus of Northern Arizona and technical planning aspects, park- shared belief that the network University. To date, the university has based logistic support, and resource requires a core staff of highly quali- provided office space as in-kind sup- management applications of the I&M fied NPS scientists to implement this port to the program. The SCPN and

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Table 8-1. Board of Directors membership and responsibilities.

Table 8-2. Technical Advisory Committee membership and responsibilities.

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FIGURE 8-1. SCPN organization chart. * Propose ending position as vegetation mapping projects are completed (FY2007).

CP-CESU are anticipated to be ten- tion of the SCPN Hydrologist. An also allow the project manager to ants in the NAU Applied Research uplands field crew will monitor vege- evaluate the skills and experience- and Development Building, sched- tation and soil stability vital signs level of new crew members. uled for completion in 2007. The under the direction of the SCPN new building will include office Terrestrial Ecologist. See Appendix L Safety. Field work can involve expo- space and dry lab facilities for the for details. sure to harsh conditions, hazardous program. Negotiations with the uni- plants and animals, and extreme versity regarding lease rates will Training. The quality of data result- weather conditions. Worker safety is occur in 2006. ing from long-term monitoring is only of paramount concern in conducting as good as the field crews who collect a field-based monitoring program. 8.3.2 In-house Monitoring the data. Routine training prior to the The SCPN monitoring program will Crews field season is essential to ensure that be operated in accordance with safe- We plan to use our cooperative high-quality and consistent data are ty laws, regulations and policies, and relationship with Northern Arizona collected over the years. During the appropriate training will be provided. University to staff two field crews. training period, the project manager A water resources field crew will will provide crew members with Equipment. The network will supply monitor water quality, aquatic review and/or training for all standard the equipment and supplies neces- macroinvertebrates, and integrated operating procedures included in the sary to conduct in-house monitoring riparian vital signs under the direc- monitoring protocols. This period will projects. Property and equipment will

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Table 8-3. Roles and responsibilities of network staff positions.


be managed according to Directors depreciate will be scheduled over normally be leased through General Order #44: Property Management. time to reduce the impact of Services Administration (GSA). Sensitive property (cameras, comput- replacing substantial amounts of ers, etc.) and property sensitive to equipment in any given year. 8.4 PARTNERSHIPS theft, loss or damage (GPS units, Calibration of equipment will follow We have initiated a number of coop- radios, and binoculars) will be man- manufacturer directions and will be erative and interagency agreements aged as accountable property. included in an appendix to the moni- to develop monitoring protocols and Purchasing of equipment likely to toring protocol. Vehicles will complete projects in support of the

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Table 8-4. Monitoring program review.

monitoring program (see Table 5-1). brates, riparian, upland and springs sities. The CP-CESU provides the We anticipate forming additional ecosystems, and for landscape vital network with ready access to uni- partnerships as we move into imple- signs. The main benefits from this versity and nonprofit members for mentation of the monitoring partnership are cost-efficiency for technical assistance needed to program. A few key relationships protocol development, monitoring develop and implement the moni- are described below. consistency across a larger geo- toring program. graphic area, and the resulting 8.4.1 Integration with the opportunity to evaluate trends more 8.4.3 National Park Service Northern Colorado Plateau broadly across NPS units of the Air Resources Division (ARD). The Network Colorado Plateau. ARD coordinates air quality monitor- The SCPN staff is working in close ing (ozone, wet and dry deposition, collaboration with the Northern 8.4.2 Colorado Plateau , visibility) for the NPS. Colorado Plateau Network to devel- Cooperative Ecosystems The SCPN will rely on ARD data col- op a series of protocols for shared Studies Unit lection and reporting to summarize monitoring needs. The two net- Organizationally, the SCPN is part of these data for Class I parks. works began coordinating their the Colorado Plateau Cooperative planning efforts in order to meet Ecosystem Studies Unit (CP-CESU) Fire Effects Monitoring Program. the goal of developing a common with close ties to the CP-CESU and The fire effects monitoring program set of conceptual models for its host university, Northern Arizona documents basic information for wild- Colorado Plateau ecosystems (see University. The CESU mission is to land fires and monitors prescribed fire Chapter 2). More recently, the two improve access to scientific research effects on vegetation. There is the networks have established several and technical assistance within the potential for a partnership between cooperative and interagency agree- federal land management agencies the SCPN and Fire Effects Monitoring ments to develop monitoring and to create effective partnerships Program to achieve common monitor- protocols for aquatic macroinverte- among federal agencies and univer- ing objectives.

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Water Resources Division (WRD). • Arizona Department of The WRD provides technical support Environmental Quality Water for hydrologic monitoring (water Quality Division quantity and quality) in SCPN parks. • Arizona Department of Water The water quality component of the Resources Natural Resource Challenge (NRC) • Colorado Department of Public requires that Vital Signs Networks Health and Environment Water archive all physical, chemical, and Quality Control Division biological water quality data collect- • Colorado Division of Water ed with NRC water quality funds in Resources the National Park Service’s STORET • Navajo Nation Department of database maintained by WRD. Water Resources • Navajo Nation Environmental 8.4.4 U.S. Geological Survey Protection Agency Scientists • New Mexico Environment The network is currently working with Department Surface Water Quality USGS scientists from the Colorado Bureau Plateau and Canyonlands Field • New Mexico Environment Stations of the Southwest Science Department Ground Water Quality Center, the Fort Collins Science Bureau Center, and the Water Resources • New Mexico Office of the State Discipline of USGS to develop moni- Engineer toring protocols. The Earth Resources • Utah Department of Environmental Observations Systems (EROS) Data Quality Division of Water Quality Center is providing MODIS NDVI data • Utah Department of Environmental for monitoring vegetation condition. Quality Division of Water Resources 8.4.5 Other Federal, State or Tribal Monitoring Programs 8.5 REVIEW PROCESS The network relies on multiple An essential element of any science agencies for data from their weather program is periodic review. Peer station networks. These networks review of proposals, monitoring include the NOAA National Weather protocols, reports, and other prod- Service Cooperative Observing ucts improves the quality of Program and Climate Research scientific research by incorporating Network (CRN) and the Remote the knowledge of other scientists. Automated Weather Stations Effective peer review improves the (RAWS) network supported by the credibility of the program by Interagency Fire Center. We will also conveying to other scientists, work with the Western Region policy-makers, managers, and Climate Center of NOAA. the public the knowledge that the resulting products have met The SCPN will work with a number accepted standards of rigor and of state and tribal agencies on moni- accountability. Table 8-4 describes toring related to water quality and the review process for the monitor- water quantity: ing program.

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This chapter describes the SCPN ence-based site selection approaches and timing of monitoring for each timeline to develop monitoring pro- to park-specific situations. Some of core vital sign. The frequency of tocols for core vital signs and to these uncertainties are the result of sampling (or revisit design) ranges implement those protocols across the scale and accuracy of available from continuous data collection network parks. It also summarizes map layers. For instance, we are (e.g., automated weather stations) the frequency and timing of moni- exploring the use of ecological sites to remotely-sensed data that may toring for each core vital sign. as the basis for upland stratification. be acquired every five years. See In our initial trials, we have discov- Chapter 4 for more detailed descrip- 9.1 PROTOCOL ered that multiple ecological sites are tion of our proposed revisit designs. DEVELOPMENT often mapped as a single map unit In Table 9-1 we describe the complex. In this type of situation, it An index period refers to a time expected timeline to complete pro- is likely that an initial GIS stratifica- frame for sampling that optimizes tocol development and implement tion will need to be combined with the cost-efficiency or information 13 monitoring protocols covering field-based decision rules in order to content of the data. For biotic popu- 18 core vital signs. We initiated six select sites within the target popula- lations or communities, the index protocol development projects in tion. Another problem is insufficient period may correspond to life cycle FY2005 (five in collaboration with base spatial data. In spite of recent or phenologic stages. For water qual- the Northern Colorado Plateau network and Servicewide I&M ity, index periods correspond to Network) and plan to initiate six Program efforts, many SCPN parks phases of the hydrologic cycle, additional projects in FY2006. See still lack basic inventory layers such including snow-melt, baseflow, and Appendix J for detailed descriptions as recent soils maps or accurate runoff generated by summer thun- of particular protocol development maps of perennial stream reaches. derstorms. Sampling during an index projects. Notwithstanding these potential period can minimize between-year obstacles, we are committed to variability due to natural events and For several of our most broadly working with SCPN park resource optimize the accessibility of the tar- applied monitoring topics (i.e., managers to identify long-term tar- get community or attribute. Table upland, riparian), we have identified get populations and maintain 9-2 currently contains rough esti- a two-year window for site selection appropriate inference strategies. mates of the index period associated and establishment in order to with a particular vital sign. As proto- address problems or uncertainties 9.2 SAMPLING SEASON AND col development continues, index that could arise as we attempt to MONITORING FREQUENCY periods will be refined to meet site apply our stratification and infer- Table 9-2 summarizes the frequency and protocol-specific requirements.

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VITAL SIGNS MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTHERN COLORADO PLATEAU NETWORK s e c r u o s r e h t o h g u o r h t d e t n e m e l n p o i m i t a y t l l n u e f r m e o l . p y l l m m a i i a t l r l r g a u F P o r p g n i r o t i n o t m n e N m P s s C e S s s e a h s t d e g e n n i , t s l n a e i t r t n m e e d l l m e i p h f s i , m l t i b n r a e t o s m f e p e o & l e m n v a o e i r t d f c l e e l o c e m i s o t T e o t . i r 1 P S - 9 e l b a T

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SCHEDULE . g n i r o t i n o m s n g i s l a . t ) i . e v z n i o s r i t k o a r f n a a n p l a p y l b x p e s e r t i i o r f s a i 4 v v r e n e r t a l p l p a a t r h i s e i C v n e e e e r S ( g . s ) k d 3 r 0 n a 0 a p 2 ( e d z d i o l s i - a r n m e o u p i D d c x e e M m d s r n w o I f o l . l n 2 o a f l - p n 9 t o i i s t i e a v l t e o b R N a * * T *

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In this chapter we present the Servicewide Inventory and water resource monitoring, integrat- budget for the network’s operational Monitoring Program and $124,000 ed upland monitoring) field work will monitoring program. Appendix L from the NPS Water Resources be carried out by NAU field crews includes more detailed budget cost Division. In planning this budget, we under the direction of network staff. projections for fiscal years 2006- sought to hold personnel and fixed In other cases (e.g., bird community 2010. Here we present the budget costs to below 65% of the network’s monitoring), a university or USGS sci- for FY 2008, the first full year in operational base in order to maintain entist will serve as project manager which the operational staff will be in program flexibility. We intend to and also conduct the field work. place and all monitoring projects accomplish some monitoring work Given the periodic need for protocol underway. through cooperative agreements revision and data analysis, we have with our CESU and USGS partners reserved 5% of the budget to sup- On an annual basis, the SCPN (approximately one third of base port technical assistance with these receives $1,209,000 from the NPS funds). For several projects (e.g., recurring tasks.

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Table 10-1. SCPN Budget for FY 2008. NPS layout 6.0 9/19/06 2:17 PM Page 109



Adams, D. K., and A. C. Comrie. 1997. The North American decoupling of terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycles. monsoon. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Bioscience 47:226-234. Society 78:2197-2214. Auble, G. T., and M. L. Scott. 1998. Fluvial disturbance Allan, J. D. 1995. Stream ecology: structure and function of patches and cottonwood recruitment along the upper running waters. & Hall, London. Missouri River, Montana. Wetlands 18:546-556. Allen, C. D. 1996. Elk response to the La Mesa Fire and cur- Axelrod, D. I., and P. H. Raven. 1985. Origins of the cordiller- rent status in the Jemez Mountains. Pages 179-195 in C. an flora. Journal of 12:21-47. D. Allen, editor. Fire effects in southwestern forests: Bailey, D. A., P. Mazurak, and J. R. Rosowski. 1973. Proceedings of the second La Mesa Fire Symposium. Aggregation of soil particles by algae. Journal of USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Phycology 9:99-101. Experiment Station, Los Alamos, NM. Bailey, R. G. 1995. Description of the ecoregions of the United Allen, C. D. 1998. A ponderosa pine natural area reveals its States, 2nd edition revised and expanded. U.S. Department secrets. Pages 551-552 in M. J. Mac, P. A. Opler, C. E. of Agriculture Forest Service, Washington, D.C. Puckett Haecker, and P. D. Doran, editors. Status and Bailey, R. G. 1998. Ecoregions: the ecosystem of trends of the nation’s biological resources. U.S. the oceans and continents. Springer, , Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, New York. Virginia. Bain, M. B., J. T. Finn, and H. E. Booke. 1988. Streamflow Allen, C. D. 2002. Lots of lightning and plenty of people: An regulation and fish community structure. Ecology ecological history of fire in the upland Southwest. Pages 69:382-392. 143-193 in T. Vale, editor. Fire, Native Peoples, and the Baker, W. L., and D. J. Shinneman. 2004. Fire and restoration Natural Landscape. Island Press, Washington, D.C. of piñon-juniper woodlands in the western United States: Allen, C. D., M. Savage, D. A. Falk, K. F. Suckling, T. W. a review. Forest Ecology and Management 189:1-21. Swetnam, T. Schulke, P. B. Stacey, P. Morgan, M. Balba, A. M. 1995. Management of problem soils in arid Hoffman, and J. T. Klingel. 2002. Ecological restoration of ecosystems. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, Florida. southwestern ponderosa pine ecosystems: A broad per- Barber, M. C. 1994. Environmental monitoring and assess- spective. Ecological Applications 12:1418-1433. ment program indicator development strategy. in. Alward, R. D., J. K. Detling, and D. G. Milchunas. 1999. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Grassland vegetation changes and nocturnal global Development, Environmental Research Laboratory, warming. Science 283:229-231. Athens, GA. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2001. Wildlife 2006. Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. 1988. North Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona. American terrestrial vegetation, Second edition. Arno, S. F., and R. D. Ottmar. 1994. Reducing hazard for cat- Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. astrophic fire. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Bayes, T. 1763. An essay towards solving a problem in the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, Oregon. doctrine of chances. Philosophical Transactions of the Asner, G. P., T. R. Seastedt, and A. R. Townsend. 1997. The Royal Society of London 53:370-418.

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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is the nation’s principal conservation agency, charged with the mission “to protect and provide access to our Nation’s natural and cultural heritage and honor our trust responsibilities to Indian tribes and our committements to island communities.” More specifically, Interior protects America’s treasures for future generations, provides access to our nation’s natural and cultural heritage, offers recreation opportunities, honors its trust responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives and its responsi - bilities to island communities, conducts scientific research, provides wise stewardship of energy and mineral resources, fosters sound use of land and water resources, and conserves and protects fish and wildlife. The work that we do affects the lives of millions of people; from the family taking a vacation in one of our national parks to the children studying in one of our Indian schools.

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