Assessing the Ecological Condition of the Reservoirs of the Aspinall Unit, Curecanti National Recreation Area
National Park Service, Northern Colorado Plateau I&M Network (NCPN), Natural Resource Condition Assessment Program
October 2010 - October 2012
Norman Mercado-Silva, Scott Bonar
This project will synthesize information on the condition of three reservoirs in the Gunnison River (Colorado) as freshwater ecosystems. Its objective is to provide managers of the Curecanti National Recreation Area with information to assist with planning and management of the park's natural resources. Specifically the effort will examine the ability of the impoundments to support aquatic obligate and aquatic associate species and processes. The project will particularly focus on the status of native fish, amphibians, bird, and plant populations of nearshore and tributary communities. The project will also investigate how variable reservoir levels resulting from dam operations affect ecosystem function and will identify the greatest threats to the sustainability of the ecosystem. This information will allow the National Park Service to better participate in complex regional and national planning in light of anticipated impacts of climate change and increased water demands, as well as the ongoing pressures from mining, logging, grazing and development occurring adjacent to National Recreation Area boundaries. Literature compilations and research for this project is 70% completed. It is anticipated that the assessment will be completed at the end of October 2012.