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Shenandoah National Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link

July 2016 revision

Costanzo SD, Lookingbill T, Walsh B, Fries A, Spitzer S, Hawkey J, Vargas V, Webb B, Easby S, Goelst C, Rouch M.

Assessment of natural resource condition within Shenandoah National Park was carried out using the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program Vital Signs ecological monitoring framework. The park was categorized into six reporting areas based on two altitudes and three major geology types underlying Shenandoah National Park. Thirty-one metrics were analyzed for 14 indicators grouped into four categories: Air Resources, Terrestrial Resources, Aquatic Resources, and Landscape Dynamics. Overall, the natural resources of Shenandoah National Park were in moderate condition, based on significant concern for air resources, and moderate concern for terrestrial and aquatic resources and landscape dynamics.

National Capital Parks-East Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/NACE/NRR–2016/1197

Walsh BM, Campbell JP, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Lehman M, Milton M, Nortrup M, Syphax S

The National Capital Parks–East (NACE) provides a natural haven for the urbanized Washington, D.C., area. NACE includes 14 major park areas that comprise more than 8,000 acres of the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, through the eastern part of Washington, D.C., to Prince George’s and Charles counties, Maryland. In addition to numerous historic and cultural sites, these NPS units protect natural areas for recreation, parkways, historical artifacts and structures, archaeological sites, wetlands, stream valleys, forests, wildlife, and vegetation. The natural areas within National Capital Parks-East are extremely rich both in biodiversity and in historical context. The park provides islands of refuge for many uncommon plant and animal species in the highly urbanized Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, protecting a variety of cultural and natural resources. Additionally, NACE provides opportunities for the public to foster awareness of the importance of species preservation, biological diversity, natural systems and processes, and the value of natural open space in an urban environment.

Under threat from surrounding land use and regionally poor air quality, the natural resources in NACE are in degraded condition overall. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising water temperature, changing forest composition, and affecting exotic species and forest pests and disease.



George Washington Memorial Parkway Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/GWMP/NRR 2016/1121

Walsh BW, Costanzo SC, Dennison WC, Campbell JP, Lehman M, Nortrup M, Steury B, Monteleone S

George Washington Memorial Parkway was developed as a scenic parkway to help preserve the Potomac River Gorge and shoreline while serving as a memorial to the first President of the United States, George Washington. The Potomac Gorge is one of the most significant natural areas in the United States, and is home to more than 400 occurrences of over 200 rare species and communities. The park houses several unique habitats, including a major river system with numerous tributaries, stands of upland forest, seeps and springs, and abundant wetlands. The vital signs framework was used to assess natural resource condition within George Washington Memorial Parkway. Natural resources in George Washington Memorial Parkway are in degraded condition overall, and are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and allowing for the success of exotic species and forest pests and disease.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/WOTR/NRR—2015/1030

Walsh BM, Costanzo SD, Dennsion WC, Campbell JP, Lehman M, Nortrup M, Chittenden B, Goetkin P, and Schuster C

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a 117-acre park located approximately 18 miles west of Washington, D.C. in Vienna, Virginia. Established in 1966, the park was designated as the first national park for the performing arts. The park provides a natural sanctuary for native bird, plants, and animal species in a developing region. The natural resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts were assessed using the Vital Signs Framework. Overall, the natural resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts are in degraded condition, and are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, and overpopulation of deer. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and affecting exotic species and forest pests and diseases.

Prince William Forest Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/PRWI/NRR—2015/1051

Walsh BW, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Campbell JP, Lehman M, Nortrup M, Carmouche C, Kelley E, Petersen P

Located approximately 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., Prince William Forest Park occupies 15,000 acres in Prince William County, Virginia. The park is the largest protected area in the region and is the third largest national park in the state of Virginia. It is also the largest example of a Piedmont forest in the national park system, and serves as a sanctuary for a diversity of plants and animals which are threatened by increasing development in northern Virginia. The vital signs framework was used to assess natural resource condition within Prince William Forest Park. Natural resources in Prince William Forest Park are in moderate condition overall and are under threat from surrounding land use (increased development), regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and allowing for the success of exotic species and forest pests and disease.

Willamette River Report Card 2015 Permanent Link

Scoring and Methodology

Simon Costanzo, Heath Kelsey and Tracey Saxby

n 2014, the Meyer Memorial Trust brought together more than 20 university, agency, and technical experts to help create the first Willamette River report card. With support from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the team of experts identified key indicators to capture a current picture of river health against which to measure future changes. Overall, the Willamette River scored a B-. The health of the river declines as it flows downstream, with both the upper and middle Willamette scoring a B and the lower Willamette scoring a C+. Download the methodology used to develop scores and grades for the Willamette River Report Card.

Report Card Review Permanent Link

A survey of report cards available through the world wide web

Spitzer S, Kelsey H, Dennison WC, Costanzo S, Thieme M, and Freeman S

Report cards are useful assessment tools and have been widely used to inspire and endorse changes. They have paved the way to new legislation, improved longitudinal data collection systems, established new professional partnerships, and inspired reforms on community-wide and national scales. With the abundance of report cards available, it is beneficial to compare reporting styles and critique data collection methods and dissemination strategies across the board. With investigation, it is possible to identify what it is that makes a report card especially successful and subsequently take steps towards making the next age of report cards even more effective.

Gulf of Kachchh: A Framework for the Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment Permanent Link

State of Gujarat, India. 2014.


The CEIA project describes a broad framework for developing a comprehensive impact assessment that accounts for current and anticipated pressures on the ecosystem. The framework consists of five steps: 1.) Describing the key features and values, 2.) Identifying and quantify major pressures on the environment and values, 3.) Examining and describe the current state of the environment, 4.) Quantifying past and existing pressures and determine linkages to impacts, and 5.) Integrating the results into adaptive management.

Nitrogen source tracing in the Choptank River Watershed Permanent Link

Prepared for: Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy

This project analyzed existing aquatic sediments, plants, and animals collected throughout the watershed to pinpoint key sources of nitrogen. As submerged aquatic vegetation has disappeared in regions heavily impacted by land-use activities, macroalgae and oysters were deployed and incubated in situ to help trace the origin of nitrogen inputs by identifying, delineating and mapping the relative influence of the varied urban and agricultural land uses in the watershed.

Catoctin Mountain Park Natural Resources Condition Assessment - Executive Summary Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/CATO/NRR—2013/745

Thomas JE, Bell PS, Campbell JP, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Donaldson L, Lehman M, Loncosky R, and Nortrup M

This is a 12-page Executive Summary of the Catoctin Mountain Park Natural Resources Condition Assessment.

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