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Monday, January 29 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
SYMPOSIA-02: Collaborative Approach to Assess the Current Condition of Priority Natural Resources in Two National Parks

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AUTHORS. Joanna Whittier, University of Missouri; Phil Hays, USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center; Brittani Alexander, University of Missouri; Shelley Todd, Hot Springs National Park, National Park Service; Charles Bitting, Buffalo National River, National Park Service; Shawn Hodges, Buffalo National River, National Park Service; Brian Kenner, Midwest Regional Office, National Park Service; Nicole Athearn, Great Rivers CESU, National Park Service

ABSTRACT. University of Missouri, USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, and National Park Service (NPS) are collaborating, through the Great Rivers CESU, to develop Natural Resource Condition Assessments (NRCAs) for two Midwest Region NPS units: Buffalo National River and Hot Springs National Park. These assessments are part of an ongoing effort by the NPS to evaluate the current status of important natural resources, identify important threats and stressors to critical resources, and identify data gaps for individual parks. NPS has found that multidisciplinary teams consisting of academic researchers, park natural resource biologists and additional subject experts result in assessments of better quality and greater relevancy and utility for the parks. Both of these focal parks have aquatic resources listed in their enabling legislation so NPS reached out to researchers at University of Missouri (MU) who have a strong background in aquatic condition assessments at watershed scales. Natural resource professionals at each park were consulted to identify additional subject experts to fill in critical knowledge gaps within the team. The ultimate goal of the NRCAs is to provide park leaders and resource managers with information to support near-term planning and management, long-term strategic planning, and effective science communication to decision-makers and the public on resource conditions. Key to providing this information is the continued close communication among team members to ensure that the resulting products 1) focus on the natural resources important to individual park units, 2) capture the current state of knowledge, and 3) provide scientifically defensible findings.

Monday January 29, 2018 1:40pm - 2:00pm CST