Development of a recommended analytical framework for environmental report cards: An example from Rock Creek Park, Washington DC and its watershed

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Integrated environmental report cards help to focus management efforts and track the effectiveness of management initiatives over time. This study used NPS I&M Program data to compare alternative methods for the assessment of ecological status and trends for Rock Creek Park. The recommended analytical framework is a potential model for assessing other NPS units or protected areas.

The condition of Rock Creek Park is highly dependent upon the surrounding land. Synoptic nutrient sampling - nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, and salinity - was conducted throughout the Rock Creek watershed. The results were combined to create a water quality index. It was determined that the Urban Stream Syndrome, or the interaction of many anthropogenic forces, was causing decreased water quality throughout the watershed. The results of this study suggest that managers work across political boundaries within the watershed and work to decrease the connectedness of urban surfaces and Rock Creek.