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National Park Service - Heartland Network Project

2001 to 2003
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National Parks in the Heartland Network


About the NPS Heartland Project

As part of its ongoing mission "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations", the National Park Service (NPS) has created a Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Program "to acquire the information and expertise needed by park managers in their efforts to maintain ecosystem integrity in the approximately 270 National park System units that contain significant natural resources" NPS Organic Act of 1916 . Aquatic resources are among the most significant of these.

CPCB's Role in the NPS HTLN

Through a cooperative work agreement, the Central Plains Center of BioAssessment is functioning as an integral part of the Inventory and Monitoring program for the Heartland Network (HTLN) of parks within the NPS.

CPCB’s role in the Inventory and Monitoring Program is to collect all water quality data available for the aquatic resources of the HTLN and develop a seamless searchable database linked to a geographic information system (GIS).

The GIS will function as a management tool for NPS allowing resource managers a point and click interactive map of monitoring stations within their parks where statistical information regarding water quality can be obtained, updated, and disseminated. Prior to this ongoing work, CPCB collected, reviewed, and summarized state water quality standards applicable to every water body in HTLN. With this information integrated into the GIS, resource managers will be able to readily identify any stream segments that may fall out of compliance with the state rules and develop plans to address the problem.

The NPS Inventory and Monitoring program also has the goal of developing long term ecological monitoring protocols that will be used to assess the ecological conditions of its parks and to monitor changes in these conditions in the future. CPCB is also working to expedite this process for the Heartland Network by first collecting, reviewing, and summarizing all biological and habitat assessment protocols used by federal monitoring programs and state monitoring agencies in states where HTLN parks are located. This information will then be used to determine appropriate protocols for the long term ecological monitoring of the aquatic resources of HTLN. In addition, CPCB will also work to develop a macroinvertebrate monitoring protocol for use in all HTLN parks.


NPS Baseline Water Quality Data reports for each park are available through CPCB’s documents site.

Analysis, Results, or Reports

A descriptive project summary is available for download in Adobe .pdf fomat [Download .pdf]

The following reports are available from this project:
Summary of Relevant Water Quality Standards (2003)
Summary of Relevant Biological and Physical Habitat Methods and Criteria (2004)
Development of Relevant Reference Conditions (2005)
Buffalo National River (BUFF) Water Quality Analysis Report (2005)
Ozark National Scenic Riverways (OZAR) Water Quality Analysis Report (2005)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CUVA) Water Quality Analysis Report (2006)
Hot Springs National Park (HOSP) Water Quality Analysis Report (2006)
Lessons Learned through the Cooperative Agreement with NPS (2006)

Maps, Images, or Photos

Listing of NPS Heartland park units.

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