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American white pelicans, Missouri National Recreational River, Nebraska.

Vital Signs Monitoring

Preserving water resources of the national parks unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations is a fundamental purpose of the National Park Service. Critical to this endeavor is understanding the condition of water resources in the National Parks. Park managers across the country are confronted with increasingly complex and challenging issues that require a broad based understanding of park water resources as a basis for making decisions, working with other agencies, and communicating with the public to protect park hydrologic systems and aquatic species.

Vital signs monitoring is designed to inform managers of the condition of water, air, geologic resources, plants and animals, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on those resources. In situations where natural areas have been highly altered so that physical and biological processes no longer function naturally (e.g., fires, floods, developed areas), information obtained through monitoring can help managers understand how to develop the most effective approach to restoration or, in cases where restoration is impossible, ecologically sound management.

The water quality and aquatic resource components of the Vital Signs Monitoring program provide park managers with the information they need to protect natural water systems and native aquatic species. As with any scientific research and data collection, this information provides resource managers the tools necessary to plan and take action to fulfill the mandates of the NPS mission.


Any reference to companies or their products in the Vital Signs section of this website is for discussion or example purposes only and does not reflect an endorsement of that product. Users of this site should seek out competitor's products for a comprehensive comparison of prices and equipment capabilities to meet their specific needs.

Last Updated: May 11, 2012