National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NGPN/NRDS 2016/1076 / NPS 317/135812, December 2016: vi, 19 pages

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Please cite this publication as:

Davis, M. B., D. J. Swanson. 2016. Plant community composition and structure monitoring for Scotts Bluff National Monument: 2016 data report. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NGPN/NRDS—2016/1076. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.



This report presents the results of vegetation monitoring efforts in 2016 at Scotts Bluff National Monument (SCBL) by the Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network (NGPN) and Northern Great Plains Fire Ecology Program (NGPFire).

During the sixth full year of field work, crew members from NGPN visited eight long-term monitoring plots on May 23-25, 2016 to collect data on the plant communities at SCBL. This is part of a long-term monitoring effort to better understand the condition of the vegetation at SCBL. NGPN staff captured data relating to species richness, herb-layer height, abundance of individual native and non-native species, ground cover, and site disturbance on each of the eight plots. In plots where woody species were present, we also measured tree regeneration, tall shrub and tree density, and woody fuel load. In addition, crew members from NGPFire visited ten sites (including three that were visited by the NGPN) on September 16-17, 2016 to document the South Bluff Rx (prescribed) Fire. Data from NGPFire are included in the disturbance section of this report.

Our 2016 findings can be summarized as follows: The NGPN monitoring crew identified 78 plant species in eight monitoring plots visited in 2016 at SCBL, of which 14 were exotic species. A single tree was observed at one of the eight plots. Tree regeneration and woody fuel loads were not observed at any plots. The most common disturbances we observed were the South Bluff Rx fire, small mammal use, and grazing.