Document Type

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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Photographic surveys have been used since the early 1940’s to document coastlines, fuel supplies and river courses. The US Navy, post world war II, flew over the Arctic coast to document possible locations for oil extraction. These very same photos are now being utilized to compare changes in tundra vegetation at the same locations today. John Muirs’ photos of Glacier Bay are a startling testament to the melted glaciers no longer visible from the same vantage point in present times. Taking photographs to monitor change may not tell the entire story behind a change in landscape. However, photos taken over a number of years from the same vantage points, can help monitor landscape changes due to habitat fragmentation, global warming, forest fire, cattle grazing and other land management issues. Photo monitoring is inexpensive, simple and can portray change to many different groups. Of course, photos taken to reveal change must start with documenting current or normal conditions. This is sometimes called baseline monitoring. The park ranger in Glacier National Park did not realize when he took his picture of the Grinnell glacier in 1911 that his photo would become an alarming baseline photo for evidence of global warming. The purpose of this project was to document the Snake River headwater basin and its riparian zones as a document in time for future reference. The original documentation included 48 images of two main headwater areas; the Shoshone and Lewis Lake areas and the Fox Park-Two Ocean Bear Management Areas near the Yellowstone Park border. Since the Shoshone-Lewis lakes are easily assessable and photo space here is limited, I have chosen to only use photos from the more remote areas.