The Glacier National Park Ice Patch Project shows how academics, tribes, and federal agencies can work together to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. Our team includes members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, the Blackfeet Nation, the University of Wyoming, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Arizona as well as Glacier National Park’s cultural resources program and the Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU). The project—an intersection of climate science, archaeology, and culture—has resulted in innumerable positive outcomes, not only for our partners, but also the communities affected by the research.
Known to Native Americans as the "Shining Mountains" and the "Backbone of the World", Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Its diverse habitats are home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, wolverine, gray wolf and lynx. Over 270 species of birds visit or reside in the park, including such varied species as harlequin ducks, dippers and golden eagles. The landscape is a hiker's paradise that is traversed by more than 740 miles of maintained trails. Glacier Park's varied climate influences and its location at the headwaters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay drainages have given rise to an incredible variety of plants and animals.
The Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network is a national consortium of federal agencies, tribes, academic institutions, state and local governments, nongovernmental conservation organizations, and other partners working together to support informed public trust resource stewardship. The CESU Network includes 331 partners, including 14 federal agencies, in seventeen CESUs representing biogeographic regions encompassing all 50 states and U.S. territories. The CESU Network is well positioned as a platform to support research, technical assistance, education and capacity building that is responsive to long-standing and contemporary science and resource management priorities.
- Using Science to help parks manage climate change
- Adapting to an uncertain future
- Mitigating or reducing our carbon footprint
- Communicating to the public and our employees about climate change