Developing a mechanistic understanding between recent climate patterns and Aquatic Vital Signs in the Greater Yellowstone Network

Science Center Objects

The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring program was established to provide park managers with a broad understanding of the status of park resources using the best available science. This program acknowledges that NPS managers are confronted with complex challenges associated with the management of dynamic landscapes responding to multiple, interacting drivers of change. To provide tools for park managers to deal with this complexity, we are working with the Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN) to synthesize and integrate vital signs data (i.e. amphibian breeding site and seep and spring water quality and discharge) in order to document trends and phenological shifts within GRYN’s aquatic resources. Additionally, we are strengthening our understanding of the social implications of future aquatic resource condition by combining long-term and vital sign monitoring data with management actions (i.e., angling closures) that may affect visitor experience.

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.Public domain

 The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring program was established to provide park managers with a broad understanding of the status of park resources using the best available science. This program acknowledges that NPS managers are confronted with complex challenges associated with the management of dynamic landscapes responding to multiple, interacting drivers of change. To provide tools for park managers to deal with this complexity, we are working with the Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN); GRYN encompasses the diverse landscapes of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Bighorn National Recreation Area. We are working with GRYN to synthesize and integrate vital signs data (i.e. amphibian breeding site and seep and spring water quality and discharge) in order to document trends and phenological shifts within GRYN’s aquatic resources. Additionally, we are strengthening our understanding of the social implications of future aquatic resource condition by combining long-term and vital sign monitoring data with management actions (i.e., angling closures) that may affect visitor experience. Our goals are to: 1) synthesize historical trends in aquatic resources across parks using disparate, long-term data sets and a simple water balance modeling approach; 2) develop empirically-based models that will link contemporary aquatic vital sign data with recent climatic patterns to establish vital sign-climatic linkages; and 3) provide the ability to use within-year conditions to forecast near-term aquatic vital signs conditions and the probability that stream temperatures will meet criteria for fishing closures.