History of NOROCK

NOROCK was formed in January 2000 by the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct integrated, interdisciplinary research in support of natural resource management in the Northern Rocky Mountains. NOROCK is one of 18 biological science and information technology centers within the USGS.

NOROCK rainbow
This is an image of NOROCK under a rainbow.

The Center was formed in January 2000 by the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct integrated, interdisciplinary research in support of natural resource management in the Northern Rocky Mountains.  NOROCK is one of 18 biological science and information technology centers within the USGS. Three of the four science disciplines stationed personnel in Bozeman, the fourth discipline provided administrative support, and a Center Director was selected by an interdisciplinary team from the Regional Office. We involve scientists in each major discipline of USGS – biology, geology, geography, and hydrology – in pioneering new approaches for conducting integrated science. This interdisciplinary approach was enhanced by close working relationships with faculty and students of Montana State University, the University of Montana, the University of Wyoming, scientists of the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service, as well as other researchers in the region.

The Center was originally established on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, based on complementary research programs and interests in partnering in science programs.  Initially, the Center was staffed with biological science employees from field stations of the Midcontinent Ecological Science Center (MESC), headquartered at Fort Collins.  NOROCK field stations co-located with the National Park Service at West Glacier and with the U.S. Forest Service at the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula, Montana, were strategically located to promote partnerships.  In 2004 a new duty station was established at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and in 2015 the Southern Appalachian Research Branch in Tennessee was brought over to NOROCK as a duty station.  Together, these locations expand both the research mission and geographic coverage of the Center. We also have USGS scientists co-located at NOROCK from the National Geospatial Program and the Geology and Environmental Change Science Center.

In 2009, NOROCK moved to a new location south of the Montana State University campus.  The larger facilities increased our science capabilities and partnerships.  We are collocated with the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, NPS Inventory and Monitoring Network, the U.S. Forest Service, and in 2015 we welcomed the USGS Cloud Hosting Services Team.  In 2016 we will also bring in research staff to serve as a  Bureau of Land Management liaison to enhance research capabilities to respond quickly to emerging BLM management needs.