The National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program recently allocated funds to initiate a benthic mapping program in ocean and Great Lakes parks in alignment with the NPS Ocean Park Stewardship 2007-2008 Action Plan. Seventy-four (ocean and Great Lakes) parks, spanning more than 5,000 miles of coastline, many affected by increasing coastal storms and other natural and anthropogenic processes, make the development of a Servicewide Benthic Mapping Program (SBMP) timely. The resulting maps and associated reports will be provided to NPS managers in a consistent servicewide format to help park managers protect and manage the 3 million acres of submerged National Park System natural and cultural resources. Of the 74 ocean and Great Lakes park units, the 40 parks with submerged acreage will be the focus in the early years of the SBMP.
The NPS and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) convened a workshop (June 3-5, 2008) in Lakewood, CO. The assembly of experts from the NPS and other Federal and non-Federal agencies clarified the needs and goals of the NPS SBMP and was one of the key first steps in designing the benthic mapping program. The central needs for individual parks, park networks, and regions identified by workshop participants were maps including bathymetry, bottom type, geology, and biology. This workshop, although not an exhaustive survey of data-acquisition technologies, highlighted the more promising technologies being used, existing sources of data, and the need for partnerships to leverage resources. Workshop products include recommended classification schemes and management approaches for consistent application and products similar to other long-term NPS benthic mapping efforts. As part of the SBMP, recommendations from this workshop, including application of an improved version of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS), will be tested in several pilot parks. In 2008, in conjunction with the findings of this workshop, the NPS funded benthic mapping projects in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Golden Gate National Recreational Area, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Virgin Islands National Park, and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
USGS-NPS Servicewide Benthic Mapping Program (SBMP) workshop report