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Scientific Research

Wilderness Monitoring Program: Key to a Healthy Grand Canyon

The importance of understanding biodiversity levels at Grand Canyon National Park.

Surprise Valley at Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is home to a wonderfully complex, interconnected web of life. The park has 447 known bird species, 91 different mammal species, 58 species of reptiles and amphibians, 8,480 known insects, and many plants, trees, microbes, and more. This biodiversity is crucial for ensuring the healthy existence of every living thing within Grand Canyon. 

Yet, gaining a clear understanding of whether biodiversity levels are increasing or decreasing remains difficult. Traditional bird and mammal surveys require expert staff to be present at a location to hear and note the sounds of wildlife over multiple days. Logistical and landscape constraints limit the extent of reliable, repeatable surveys at Grand Canyon. In addition, the presence of people can influence species to abandon an area or vocalize less frequently. 

The need to properly understand biodiversity levels at Grand Canyon is crucial. Faced with often complex decisions about resource management, park leaders need a clear understanding of how healthy or unhealthy the park is.

With your help, Grand Canyon Conservancy will fund the necessary staff and resources to implement a wilderness soundscape monitoring and reporting program. This effort, which will last for two years, will help measure biodiversity and species distribution levels across the park, providing clear insights on how to ensure the healthiest possible future for Grand Canyon National Park.

Ed keable grca headshot min

Ed Keable

Superintendent Grand Canyon National Park

“Biodiversity is the key to life on earth and is vital to everything that lives in Grand Canyon. Your support for this important wilderness monitoring project allows the park to clearly understand where all future biodiversity conservation efforts must be focused.”

Your impact: Helping researchers understand biodiversity at Grand Canyon

Your generous gift will:

  • Enable the park to hire a wilderness intern to complete the first post-baseline assessment of Grand Canyon biodiversity since 2018.
  • Fund a soundscape monitoring and reporting program to accurately assess biodiversity and species distribution levels across ecosystems in a minimally invasive way.
  • Allow park staff and scientists to make wise resource decisions about biodiversity.