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UCMP and the National Parks

by Erica Clites

Since its founding, the UC Museum of Paleontology has collaborated with the National Park Service (NPS) and other land management agencies. UCMP faculty helped to establish several national parks, and current UCMP staff manage fossils from at least 47 national parks, as well as those from Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service lands. Since January 2014, Museum Scientist Erica Clites has been working with NPS scientist Angie Evenden of the Californian Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit on the UC campus. Funding from the NPS Pacific West Region launched several projects including completing a paleontological resource inventory for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). This inventory contains a summary of the scientific literature and a listing of UCMP, California Academy of Sciences, and NPS collections from the GGNRA's vast urban expanses.

This spring, the Bay Area hosted two important park-related gatherings, the first being Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century in March. UCMP staff presented a poster describing our history of collaborations with NPS as well as a new online portal that provides NPS staff with access to UCMP locality records for sites within current park boundaries. The poster session was held in the courtyard of the Valley Life Sciences Building, and special tours of the UCMP collections were given for conference attendees. In April, the George Wright Society meeting for parks and protected areas was held in Oakland. Erica Clites presented a poster and gave two special tours of the UCMP collections.

Also in March, the UCMP, in close collaboration with Ben Becker at Point Reyes National Seashore, NPS Senior Paleontologist Vincent Santucci, and UCMP Research Associate Robert Boessenecker, initiated a long-term monitoring program for fossils and fossil-bearing strata at Point Reyes. GeoCorps intern Lillian Pearson is conducting museum visits and fieldwork in order to build a list of localities within the park. The most vulnerable sites will be chosen for future monitoring.

Pt. Reyes fossil monitoring group
UCMP is collaborating with Point Reyes National Seashore to launch a field monitoring program for fossil sites. Pictured here with a fossil whale found near Bolinas are: (Left to right) Erica Clites, Lillian Pearson (GeoCorps intern), Vincent Santucci (NPS, Geologic Resources Division) and Ben Becker (Point Reyes National Seashore). Photo by John Eleby (NPS).

Discover more about partnerships between UCMP and various parks.

Stay tuned for more about these exciting new projects from UCMP focused on the management of fossil resources on federal lands and related activities!