Yellowstone's Vital Signs
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 18, 2013
Yellowstone National Park Service officials have released the annual Vital Signs report for the national park, with highlights including:
Climate: Precipitation data suggest that we are still in a long-term drought. Recent data support a continued trend of warming with average low temperatures increasing by 4.6 degrees since 1989.
Bears: Grizzly bear numbers appear to be stable in the GYE this year; supporting recent discussion that bears have reached carrying capacity in the ecosystem.
Wolves and elk: Elk surveyed along the northern range of Yellowstone continued to decline as a result of multiple factors, but show signs of stabilizing at a new low. The number of wolves that spend most of their time in Yellowstone National Park declined slightly.
Bison: The conservation of Yellowstone bison continues to be successful with population numbers over 4000 bison.
Historic structure conditions and archeological sites: Historic structure assessments of the 880 buildings, roads, bridges and grave markers have been completed for 80 percent of the sites. About 77 percent of historic structures and 65 percent of known archeological sites are in "good" condition.
Native fish: There are signs that the number of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake is increasing. Efforts to reduce the population of non-native lake trout have resulted in the removal of over 1 million lake trout from Yellowstone Lake. Artic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout restoration efforts began in 2013 as part of the native fish preservation effort.
To read the complete report, click on the link below.