Appendix C:RMP Paleontological Project Statements

Project Statement #1

Project Number: YELL-N

Title:
Inventory and Photodocument Paleontologic Resources

Funding Status: Funded: 0; Unfunded: 96.00

Servicewide Issues:

Problem Statement

Preliminary research reveals that paleontological resources are aboundantyl preserved at Yellowstone National Park. In 1996, at least twenty stratigraphis units were identified containing significant fossil resources. Parkwide the number and distribution of paleontological localities are unknown, however, due to a lack of a comprehensive and systematic field inventory.

The lack of basic data regarding the significance, distribution and threats related to the paleontological resources limits park staff's ability to properly manage this non-renewable resource. The scientific and interpretive value of Yellowstone's fossils, excluding paleoflora, remains reltively unrecognized. The ancient Yellowstone Ecosystem remains to be discovered within the park's sedimentary rocks.

Description of Recommended Project or Activity

A detailed literature search should be conducted at the beginning of the project, to provide an inventory of known sites and specimens.

A paleontological locality inventory and monitoring program needs to be established for Yellowstone National Park. Most of the park's fossil localities are not recorded and are unknown to park management. These fossil localities should be documented to allow their distribution and significance to be integrated into park management programs.

The park needs to establish and develop a paleontologic resource database. The paleo-database will include all geographis, stratigraphis, taxonomic and taphonomic information related to Yellowstone's fossil record. Additionally, a paleontologic resources locality map would be produced and incorporated into the park's GIS system. The development of a paleontological inventory and monitoring program includes the establishment of a cyclic locality monitoring schedule.

The program includes the hiring of a staff paleontologist to direct the Inventory and Monitoring Program. The paleontologist will supervise a team of students and volunteers to photodocument and map all unrecorded fossil localities, to record all relevant associated data, develop paleo-resource database, to preserve or collect any significant fossil specimens, and assist curatorial staff with paleo-specimen curation.

Year 1: Hire paleontologist. Inventory park paleontological localities and photodocument.

Year 2: Continue to inventory paleontological localities and photodocument.

Year 3: Complete inventory of paleontological localities and publish photojournal wieh descriptions of all park fossil localities. Produce paleo-locality map through GIS. Incorporate paleontologic resource data into park management and planning documents.

Budget and FTEs


		Unfunded	

                         Act     Budget 

Year     Source	         Type   ($1000s) FTEs



1	 PKBASE-NR	 MON	 32.00	 1.0

2	 PKBASE-NR	 MON	 32.00	 1.0

3	 PKBASE-NR	 MON	 32.00	 1.0

Alternative Actions/Solutions and Impacts

1) No Action. Continue to manage Yellowstone’s paleontological resources without the benefits of an inventory and monitoring program. The lack of a cyclic monitoring schedule will be inefficient and thereby increase the potential that valuable fossil specimens will remain undiscovered and lost through erosion or theft.

2) Develop a Paleontological Locality Inventory and Monitoring Program for Yellowstone National Park. Photodocument and map all park fossil localities and develop a paleontological locality database. Establish a cyclic monitoring schedule for fossil localities.

Compliance Code: EXCL

Explanation: 516 DM2 APP. 2, 1.6


Project Statement #2

Project Number: YELL-N

Title: Preserve Threatened Paleontological Resources

Funding Status: Funded: 0; Unfunded: 36.00

Servicewide Issues:

Problem Statement: Management of paleontological resources present intriguing challenges. The balance between conflicting demands of preservation, research and visitor access must be recognized. The principle threats to paleontological resources include loss due to erosion and development, and illegal fossil collecting. Each of these threats impact the integrity of paleontological localities for research and visitor education.

Erosion is a natural process that continually destroys exposed fossils and uncovers previously buried material. The natural erosion cycle is often disrupted by excessive visitor traffic, construction, or other developments. Paleontological resources are not typically considered in pre-construction surveys, which may result in the unnecessary loss of fossil material.

An increasing interest in fossils by the public, coupled to a growing commercial fossil market, is becoming a significant threat to fossil resources preserved in national parks. Illegal fossil collecting can be classified into three categories: 1) inadvertent casual collecting, 2) intentional casual collecting, and 3) intensive intentional collecting. These range from souvenir hunting to systematic removal of the most valuable specimens to be sold in the commercial fossil market.

Although Yellowstone National Park contains significant paleontological resources, there is not an ongoing program to mitigate the threats to paleontological resources. Such a program would address all aspects of park management, including interpretation, protection, maintenance and resource management.

Description of Recommended Project or Activity:

A paleontological resources protection program should be integrated into the environmental review process at Yellowstone National Park. The program should identify and mitigate the threats to known paleontological resources and contain a strategy for identifying impacts on previously unrecorded fossil resources (through surveys, literature review, etc.).

The park program should also establish a member(s) of the park staff to evaluate paleontological resource threats and develop strategies to reduce these threats. In particular, to identify ongoing programs or existing practices that impact park fossils.

Budget and FTEs


		Unfunded	

                         Act     Budget 

Year     Source	         Type   ($1000s) FTEs



1      PKBASE-NR      MON      32.00      1.0

2      PKBASE-NR      MON      32.00      1.0

3      PKBASE-NR      MON      32.00      1.0

Alternative Actions/Solutions and Impacts

1) No Action. Continue to manage and protect Yellowstone's paleontological resources based on a cursory understanding of the threats. Fossil resources may remain unrecognized and be lost through development, theft or neglect. Scientifically significant localities may experience adverse impacts.

2) Develop a Park level paleontological resource program for the management and protection of threatened paleontological resources into management planning and decision making.

Compliance Code: EXCL

Explanation: 516 DM2 APP. 2, 1.6