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Park Management Informed by Scientific Information – Key Aspects of Network Approach to Monitoring Monitoring plays a key, central role in natural resource stewardship, performance management, and meeting the NPS mission for all parks with NR.

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slide1

Park Management Informed by Scientific Information – Key Aspects of Network Approach to Monitoring

  • Monitoring plays a key, central role in natural resource stewardship, performance management, and meeting the NPS mission for all parks with NR.
  • Primary audience: park managers, but results will be used for many other stewardship efforts, such as:
    • Planning (GMPs, RSPs, determining desired conditions)
    • Performance Management (reporting resource condition and demonstrating results at park and national level)
    • Interpretation and building constituencies
  • Natural Resource Challenge funding will only build a core program. Use of existing personnel, base funds, and partnerships are critical to success (requires flexibility to allow leveraging through partnerships).
  • Network approach increases efficiency. Designed to be relevant, with explicit link to management decision-making and Performance Management at the park and national level.
slide2

Vital Signs Monitoring – 3 Characteristics

  • Long-term, ecological monitoring perspective
  • Integration and coordination among parks, programs and agencies
  • Emphasis on Information Management
slide3

Vital Signs Monitoring – 3 Characteristics

  • Long-term, ecological monitoring perspective
    • Provides and protects core staff and funding to track condition of selected resources long-term, e.g., decadal sampling intervals in some cases
    • Systems approach to provide information for decision-making and to report on the condition of selected park resources.
    • Expect/plan for turnover of personnel and technology; higher requirements for planning, documentation, protocols
  • Integration and coordination among parks, programs and agencies
  • Emphasis on Information Management
slide4

Vital Signs Monitoring – 3 Characteristics

  • Long-term, ecological monitoring perspective
  • Integration and coordination among parks, programs and agencies
    • Monitoring is an integral part of natural resource stewardship
    • Most parks were already doing work to help assess condition and address some of the monitoring program’s goals
    • VS monitoring is only one small part of larger science effort in some parks to track condition of resources and provide data for management decision-making
    • Collaboration with park-funded projects, Learning Centers, Fire Program, Exotic Plant Management Teams, Interpreters, etc. is efficient, and Just Makes Sense!
  • Emphasis on Information Management
slide5

Vital Signs Monitoring – 3 Characteristics

  • Long-term, ecological monitoring perspective
  • Integration and coordination among parks, programs and agencies
  • Emphasis on Information Management
    • Make information more available and useful for management decision-making, research, and education.
    • Facilitate transformation of data into information and knowledge through analysis, synthesis and modeling.
    • Long-term: Build institutional knowledge
slide6

The Network Approach

  • Strategic approach to allow all parks to identify most critical data needs (maximize the use and relevance of the data) and begin monitoring planning/design work now.
  • Group of parks share consistent funding and professional staff to plan/design/implement a long-term, integrated monitoring program. Provides a core “bare bones” professional staff that parks can build on.
  • Networks augment work already being done by park staff.
  • Administrative tool for greater efficiency by sharing staff & funding; monitoring must be responsive to park-level issues, data needs, and long-term managerial interests.
  • Start with a modest program, but be optimistic! Build a strong foundation. Demonstrate the value of scientific data for park stewardship, and the funding & staffing will grow.

If park managers do not see the relevance of the monitoring program for providing information for performance management, planning, decision-making, interpretation, research, etc., then we need to do a better job of explaining/ marketing the program!

slide7

Initial funding will not allow comprehensive monitoring in all parks. Systems-based monitoring of physical and biological resources including the ecological processes that shaped and continue to act on the park.

Ecosystems… just the sound of it, gives me the willies.

slide8

The Wedding Cake

An alternative to “One Size Fits All”

National

  • Primary use of data is at the local level
  • Park buy-in, partnership opportunities and cost leveraging are very important for early success and efficiency
  • Indicators and protocols most relevant to each system are very different; e.g., Northwest Forests vs. South Florida vs. Colorado Plateau

Network/Ecosystem

Park

Servicewide Core Variables

Network/Ecosystem Core Variables

slide9

Promoting Consistency and Collaboration

  • Parks and networks identify their most critical data needs and partnership/cost-sharing opportunities (maximize the use and relevance of the data; get the most for your monitoring dollar).
  • Once that is done, identify common ground and additional opportunities for collaboration and consistency among approaches, programs, and protocols.
  • Promote sharing/comparing of protocols and datasets via data management and protocol clearinghouse.
  • Analysis and reporting done at several levels of scale for different audiences (park, network, national). Parks & networks provide detailed data to managers & integrate with other park operations; make data available to others to assist with synthesis, modeling, more sophisticated analysis at regional and national scales.
slide10

Why are Protocols Especially Important for Long-term Monitoring?

We need to be certain that changes detected by monitoring actually are occurring in nature and not simply a result of measurements being taken by different people or in slightly different ways

  • Long-term monitoring; Different people will be doing the monitoring; changeover in personnel is expected.
  • Experts that design the protocol and plans for analysis will retire or go away.
  • Necessary to share/compare approach and results among different agencies and among sites.
slide11

Policy makers, Non-Scientists

Simple, clear public message

Effective

communication

Public Environment

Use Assessment by experts to translate scientific findings for policy and decision-making

Science Environment

Sound

Science

Scientists,

Field-level Practitioners

“Improve park management through greater reliance on scientific data”

slide12

Reporting the Results of I&M EffortsMaking Data, Information Available for Decision-Makers, Scientists, Educators, and various Constituency Groups

  • Annual Administrative Report and Work Plan
  • Annual Reports for specific Protocols or Projects
  • Inventory Project Reports
  • Analysis and Synthesis reports – trends
  • Program and Protocol Review reports
  • Scientific journal articles and book chapters
  • Symposia, workshops and conferences
  • National Report - Condition of NR in National Parks
  • Websites
  • “Science Day” briefings with Park Managers
slide13

I&M Program Goals

  • Establish natural resource inventory and monitoring as a standard practice throughout the National Park system that transcends traditional program, activity, and funding boundaries.
  • Inventory the natural resources ...
  • Monitor park ecosystems ...
  • Integrate natural resource inventory and monitoring information into NPS planning, management, and decision making.
  • Share NPS accomplishments and information with other natural resource organizations and form partnerships for attaining common goals and objectives.
slide14

“Decision makers and planners will use the best available scientific and technical information and scholarly analysis to identify appropriate management actions for protection and use of park resources”.

– NPS Management Policies

slide15

“A sophisticated knowledge of resources and their condition is essential. The Service must gain this knowledge through extensive collaboration with other agencies and academia, and its findings must be communicated to the public. For it is the broader public that will decide the fate of these resources.”

Source: Rethinking the National Parks for the 21st Century. A Report of the National Park System Advisory Board, July 2001

slide16

Issues and Tasks involved in Managing the Natural Resources of a Park

  • Inventory, Monitoring, Research studies
  • Invasive species (e.g., weeds, insect pests, diseases)
  • Threatened & endangered species
  • Restoration
  • Planning – GMPs, Resource Stewardship
  • Compliance – NEPA, Permits
  • Performance management – GPRA goals
  • Interpretation – connect with visitors
  • Maintenance (trails, mowing, veg. control)
  • Law enforcement & visitor safety
  • Acquire funding to make things happen
  • Deal with politics & people dynamics
  • Management decision-making: how to allocate limited people, dollars and leverage efforts

Information is the common currency among all of these park stewardship activities

slide17

Understand, protect, restore park resources

Park Management Informed by Scientific Information –Integration with other Park Operations

  • View inventory and monitoring as an information system
  • Make information more useful and available for park managers and staff at local level
  • Make data available to others for education, research, modeling, synthesis

(Adapted from National Water Quality Monitoring Council)

slide19

Inventory data sets

GIS projects

Monitoring results

Research data

Studies funded by park base, NRPP

Fire Program

Search Tools for Finding Things in the Hopper:

Natural Resource Data Portal

NatureBib

NPSpecies

NPS Focus

Data Warehouse

“The Hopper”

Routine analysis and reporting by I&M networks and cooperators

Condition Assessments:

Occasional analyses, synthesis by parks, with funding & expertise assistance from WCA & I&M

slide20

The 32 NPS networks are designing a system for scientific data collection, analysis, and reporting that is unprecedented in the history of the National Park Service

slide21

FY2000 Appropriations Bill

“While the Service downsizing several years ago shifted greater responsibility and authority to the parks, this decentralization did not obviate the need for the Service to operate as one agency, rather than 378 independent parks, 7 autonomous regions, and a Washington office. While the Committee is not advocating a centralization of all Service decision-making, a concerted effort must be made at all levels of Park Service management, including park superintendents and regional directors, to exercise greater responsibility in implementing programs with an eye towards servicewide goals, and not individual whims.”

network concept
Network Concept

The 32 park networks are large enough for efficiencies through sharing staff & funding

Networks are small and local enough to respond to park-level issues and data needs and allow for local cost-leveraging opportunities

slide23

The I&M Program: What it is

Long-term ecological program designed to:

Routinely collect, manage, analyze, and report data on the condition or “health” of a modest set of natural resources.

Provide some local scientific expertise to all 270+ parks through the use of shared positions.

Maximize the use and relevance of the data for managing parks, and gain efficiencies through collaboration, cost-sharing across NPS programs and with other agencies through a flexible but coordinated approach.

Make data and information more available and useful by promoting good data management/analysis/reporting practices.

slide24

The I&M Program: What it is

One of several programs that:

Provides data, information, expertise for park planning.

Provides data, information, expertise for natural resource assessments and GPRA goal reporting.

Provides information to visitors and the public, “for it is the broader public that will decide the fate of these resources”.

Encourages collaboration/partnerships with the scientific community.