Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park Elk Monitoring Program Annual Report 2010

Natural Resource Data Series 2011/289
By: , and 



Fiscal year 2010 was the third year of gathering data needed for protocol development while simultaneously implementing what is expected to be the elk monitoring protocol at Mount Rainier (MORA) and Olympic (OLYM) national parks in the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN). Elk monitoring in these large wilderness parks relies on aerial surveys from a helicopter. Summer surveys are planned for both parks and are intended to provide quantitative estimates of abundance, sex and age composition, and distribution of migratory elk in high elevation trend count areas. Spring surveys are planned at Olympic National Park and are intended to provide quantitative estimates of abundance of resident and migratory elk on low-elevation winter ranges within surveyed trend count areas. An unknown number of elk is not detected during surveys. The protocol under development aims to estimate the number of missed elk by applying a model that accounts for detection bias. Detection bias in elk surveys in MORA will be estimated using a double-observer sightability model that was developed based on data from surveys conducted in 2008-2010. The model was developed using elk that were previously equipped with radio collars by cooperating tribes. That model is currently in peer review. At the onset of protocol development in OLYM there were no existing radio- collars on elk. Consequently double-observer sightability models have not yet been developed for elk surveys in OLYM; the majority of the effort in OLYM has been focused on capturing and radio collaring elk to permit the development of sightability models for application in OLYM. As a result, no estimates of abundance or composition are included in this annual report, only raw counts of the numbers of elk seen in surveys. At MORA each of the two trend count areas (North Rainier herd, and South Rainier herd) were surveyed twice. 290 and 380 elk were counted on the two replicates in the North Rainier herd, and 621 and 327 elk counted on the two replicate South Rainier counts. At Olympic National Park, each of three spring trend count areas was surveyed once in March 2010. 27 elk were observed in the South Fork Hoh trend count area, 137 elk were observed in the Hoh trend count area, and 131 elk were observed in the Queets trend count area. In September 2010, 18 elk were captured and fitted with radio collars as part of a contracted animal capture, eradication and tagging of animals (ACETA) operation. These animals will be available to contribute double-observer sightability data in future spring and summer surveys. There were no summer surveys for elk in OLYM in 2010.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park Elk Monitoring Program Annual Report 2010
Series title Natural Resource Data Series
Series number 2011/289
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher National Park Service
Publisher location Fort Collins, CO
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 42 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details