The Upper Columbia Basin Network has identified 14 priority park vital signs, indicators of ecosystem health, which represent a broad suite of ecological phenomena operating across multiple temporal and spatial scales. Our intent has been to monitor a balanced and integrated "package" of vital signs that meets the needs of current park management, but will also be able to accommodate unanticipated environmental conditions in the future. Camas is one particularly high priority vital sign for two UCBN parks, Big Hole National Battlefield (BIHO) and Nez Perce National Historical Park (NEPE). Camas is a unique resource for these parks because it is both culturally and ecologically significant. Camas was and remains one of the most widely utilized indigenous foods in the Pacific Northwest and it is strongly associated with the wet prairie ecosystems of the region that have been degraded or lost due to historic land use practices. A long-term citizen science-based monitoring program for detecting status and trends in camas populations at BIHO and Weippe Prairie, a subunit of NEPE, will serve as a central information source for park adaptive management decision making and will provide essential feedback on any eventual restoration efforts of park wet prairie habitats. The involvement of student citizen scientists in this particular program has been effective both in terms of leveraging resources as well as in engaging communities in park stewardship and science education.
This annual report details the status and trend estimates obtained from the first four years of monitoring, 2005-2008, at Weippe Prairie and BIHO.