Inventory and Monitoring ProgramThe Northeast Temperate Network (NETN) was established by the US National Park Service (NPS) to monitor ecological conditions in 12 parks located in seven northeastern states as well as six additional states through which the Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes. The NETN operates with the mandate to preserve park natural resources "unimpaired for future generations." These resources include water, air, geological, faunal and floral, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on these resources. The broad-based, scientifically sound information obtained through long term natural resource monitoring will have multiple applications for management decision-making, research, education, and promoting public understanding of park resources.
Knowing the condition of natural resources in national parks is fundamental to the Services ability to manage park resources. Historically, managers and scientists have sought a way to characterize and determine trends in the condition of parks and other protected areas to provide early warning of impending threats and to assess the efficacy of management practices and restoration efforts. The challenge of protecting and managing a parks natural resources relies on a partnership based ecosystem approach because most parks are open systems, where threats such as air and water pollution, and invasive species, originate outside established park boundaries beyond the control of park managers. Natural resource monitoring provides site-specific information needed to understand and identify change in complex, variable, and imperfectly understood natural systems and to determine whether observed changes are within natural levels of variability.
December 2011 - NETN has joined Twitter! Follow the ‘tweets’ about publications, network news, and natural resource trivia at: NetnNps@Twitter
- NETN and the Night Skies and Natural Sounds Division are collaborating on a webinar series aimed at helping participants learn methods for automating the analysis of audio recordings for ecological studies. Web page is at: http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/netn/acoustical_data/acoustical_webinars.cfm. Participants include three agencies (NPS, USFWS, and USGS) and come from across the country.
November 2011 - NETN staff Brian Mitchell and Adam Kozlowski assisted Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP natural resource manager Kyle Jones with pilot testing deer monitoring techniques in the park.
- NETN produced the quarterly newsletter for fall in November. Issues explored include climate change, geologic and vegetation maps, the NPS natural sounds program and more. A Resource Brief about climate change related monitoring programs was also published during the month. The newsletter and brief can be download from NETN’s Education and Outreach webpage.
-The Minute Man National Historical Park Amphibian and Reptile Inventory (March – September 2001) was published in November. The report can be downloaded from NETN’s website or from the IRMA database at https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=440002
-Science Communication Specialist Ed Sharron participated in a regional webinar dedicated to climate change programs and initiatives in the Northeast. The Alliances for Science webinar brought together Research Learning Centers, Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units, I&M networks, and regional managers to highlight climate change programs and explore opportunities to collaborate.
October 2011 - NETN program manager and coastal bird monitoring lead Carol Trocki delivered presentations at the Boston Harbor Islands science symposium. NETN also contributed several posters outlining monitoring activities taking place in Acadia National Park for their science symposium.
October marked the end of the monitoring season for calendar year 2011 with the last Water Quality monitoring round and the end of migration and phenology monitoring.
The Fall Newsletter for NETN has been published and is available for download on the Education & Outreach webpage.
The Geologic Resources Inventory (GRI) completed the report for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The report is a companion document to the previously released digital geologic map data and aids in its use for resource management. It can be downloaded at http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/inventory/publications/reports/mabi_gri_rpt_body_print.pdf
The Natural Resource Condition Assessment for Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site has been published and is available for download at http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/NETN/inventory/docs/Inventory%20Reports/SAIR_NRCA_NPS_NER_NRR_2011_457.pdf. The report highlights the natural resources of the park’s riverine-wetland environment that include fish communities, aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates, water quality, riverbed and wetland sediments, river hydrology, wetland and aquatic vegetation, and amphibian and reptile communities.
September 2011 - Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division (NSNSD) staff discussed collaborative opportunities with Brian Mitchell, NETN Program Manager. The group met in late September in Fort Collins, CO and discussed technical issues that are limiting the expansion of acoustic monitoring of wildlife and soundscapes within the NPS, as well as the potential for increased citizen science-based acoustic monitoring. NETN staff will work with the NSNSD to develop interpretive publications and templates that will help the NSNSD highlight the importance of acoustic monitoring and disseminate project results to planners, park staff, and the public.
Science Communication Specialist Ed Sharron attended Earth to Sky V: Communicating Climate Change at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. Participants met directly with scientists and interpreters from the National Park Service, NASA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and several universities. The symposium explored methods for discussing climate change causes, impacts, and adaptation/mitigation strategies with parks and the public.
The vegetation map report for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP was completed at the end of September. The report is published on the Integrated Resource Management Applications website (https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=436361&file=MABI_Gawler_Veg_Map_NPS_NER_NRTR_2011_493.pdf ) and it includes descriptions of the local and global expressions of each vegetation association, a field key to the vegetation associations, a plant species list derived from the plot and accuracy assessment data collection, metadata for the vegetation plot data, and an index to association photographic documentation.
The Geologic Resources Inventory (GRI) team completed a digital geologic map for Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site (SAIR). Providing parks with digital geologic maps meets the geologic inventory goal defined and funded by the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. This map is provided in full GIS coverage and can be found on the Integrated Resource Management Applications website at: Digital Bedrock Geologic Map of Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and Vicinity, Massachusetts (http://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/Profile/2176344).
July 2011 - The Northeast Temperate Network welcomed two new staff members in June and early July: Jonathan DeDell is a seasonal data management technician in the networks Woodstock office, assisting the network with uploading and organizing information for the IRMA (also known as NRInfo) system. Brian Schuetz is a permanent hydrologic technician stationed at the NY Water Science Center in Troy, NY. Brian will be responsible for leading water monitoring activities in most network parks.
The Northeast Temperate Network released two 2011 protocol updates in June: the Forest Health Protocol (https://nrinfo.nps.gov/Reference.mvc/Profile?code=2171469) and the Boston Harbor Islands Coastal Birds protocol (https://nrinfo.nps.gov/Reference.mvc/Profile?Code=2172382). In addition, the network released the 2010 Boston Harbor Islands NRA Coastal Birds data report (https://nrinfo.nps.gov/Reference.mvc/Profile?Code=2171529).
Monitoring in the Northeast Temperate Network was in high gear in June, with forest health monitoring at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt NHS, Weir Farm NHS, and Acadia NP. Bird monitoring continued in many parks, as did freshwater quality and quantity monitoring. Estuarine monitoring kicked off in Acadia NP, phenology monitoring continued in several parks, and sediment elevation tables were installed in Acadia salt marshes. Even with all the field work happening, NETNs Science Communication Specialist was able to visit most parks to give annual presentations about NETN activities. Ed visited Saratoga NHP, Morristown NHP, Weir Farm NHS, Acadia NP, Saugus Iron Works NHS, and Boston Harbor Islands NRA. Ed also gave a presentation at the annual Wellborn Ecology Conference.
June 2011 - Fred Dieffenbach, NETNs Appalachian Trail Environmental Monitoring Coordinator, completed the Appalachian Trail Vital Signs Monitoring Plan. The monitoring plan serves as the foundation for monitoring activities along the Appalachian Trail and represents a significant milestone for Freds work with the Appalachian Trail. The completed report is being printed and is also available digitally at http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/NETN/reports/AT/APPA_Vital_Signs_Plan_FINAL_20110516.pdf.
NETN Plant Ecologist Kate Miller and co-authors completed the networks 2010 Forest Health Monitoring report. This years report extends information presented in prior reports by highlighting and interpreting forest biotic homogenization and landscape context. To learn more, check out the report at https://nrinfo.nps.gov/Reference.mvc/Profile?code=2171126. NETN also released its updated (2011) landbird protocol, which updates site information and quality control procedures (http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/NETN/monitor/Reports/NETN_Landbird_Protocol_2011_Update_FINAL.pdf).
NETNs monitoring season kicked off in May, with training for the multi-network forest crew (Thomas Faustus, Johanna Fickenscher and Caitlin White, along with NETNs Jesse Wheeler). The crew is already off to a great start, and completed monitoring at MORR ahead of schedule. This years crew is not letting monitoring take away from their athletic training; Thomas is biking between each park this season (for example, he made the 300+ miles between MABI and MORR in 2 days), while Johanna is training for a 50 mile endurance run. May also saw the beginning of the 2011 water monitoring and bird monitoring seasons. For a calendar of monitoring activities, check out NETNs new monitoring calendar at the bottom of our monitoring page (http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/NETN/monitor/flashmo_220_nature/monitor_flash.cfm).