Ecological research and monitoring site approved in Yellowstone

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Citing a need for long-term data about landscape changes, Yellowstone National Park has permitted the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to build an ecological research and monitoring site on Blacktail Deer Plateau in the northern section of the park.

With at least 81 field sites across the US, NEON measures the causes and effects of environmental change. The site in Yellowstone will produce long-term monitoring data about the impacts of climate change, invasive species, and landscape changes. The data will be made available to scientists, researchers, and the public to collectively help understand how the ecosystem responds to various types of change and stress.

A Finding of No Significant Impact was approved by Acting Intermountain Regional Director, Kate Hammond on October 23, 2017.

Yellowstone Northern Range. (NEON)

All facilities and monitoring equipment will be located on the Blacktail Deer Plateau. The project will consist of a 59-foot tower with monitoring equipment and a satellite communications dish, an instrument hut, electrical power, a precipitation collection system, soil study plots, and aquatic monitoring equipment.

Construction will begin late fall 2017, will be suspended during winter, then resume in July 2018 once the annual bear management closures in the area are lifted.

NEON will collect data in Yellowstone for 30 years. Once activities end, all infrastructure will be removed. All areas will be returned to as natural a condition as possible.

This project is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Program.

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