National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NGPN/NRDS 2018/1149 / NPS 317/142416, February 2018: v, 14 pages

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

Please cite this publication as:

Manuel, R. M. 2018. Plant community composition and structure monitoring for Scotts Bluff National Monument: 2017 data report. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NGPN/NRDS— 2018/1149. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.



This report presents the results of vegetation monitoring efforts in 2017 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 seventh full year of field work, crew members from NGPN visited eight long-term monitoring plots on May 22-25, 2017 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, tree regeneration, tall shrub and tree density, and woody fuel load were measured. In addition, crew members from NGPFire visited eight sites (four FPCM and four PCM) on June 5-6, 2017.

Our 2017 findings can be summarized as follows: The NGPN monitoring crews identified 89 plant species in sixteen monitoring plots visited in 2017 at SCBL, of which 14 were exotic species. Four trees were observed across two of the sixteen plots. One of the two plots with measurable trees also had notable tree regeneration. However, woody fuel loads were not observed at any plots. The most common disturbances we observed were the small mammal use, South Bluff Rx fire and grazing.