Yellowstone Paleo Survey: Apendix A

Appendix A: Yellowstone Paleontological Survey Proposal


I. Project Title: Paleontological Survey of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

II. Principle Investigators

Vincent L. Santucci
National Park Service
P.O. Box 592
Kemmerer, WY 83101
(307) 877-4455

William P. Wall
Department of Biology
Georgia College
Milledgeville, GA 31061
(912) 454-0818

Brent Breithaupt
Museum of Geology
University of Wyoming
P.O. Box 3006
Laramie, WY 82070
(307) 766-2646

III. Support Staff

Graduate and undergraduate students from Georgia College and Slippery Rock University will work under direct supervision of the principle investigators. Both faculty and students will participate in all phases of literature review, field investigations, museum research, report writing and preparation of final publication. Graphics illustrator will be employed to produce maps, figures and illustrations for publications.

IV. Research Statement

Yellowstone National Park is recognized for its natural, cultural and scenic resources. Management of the park's resources presents interesting challenges to the park staff. Although wildlife, vegetation and geothermal features predominate, a wealth of other resource types occur in the park. A diverse and scientifically significant assemblage of paleontological resources are preserved at Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone geology spans from the Precambrian through the recent. Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits have yielded many types of fossilized plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Paleontological research projects conducted over the last century have identified numerous localities within the park. Most of the
research has been isolated to specific stratigraphic units or taxonomic groups. A comprehensive paleontological survey has not yet been accomplished at Yellowstone National Park.

A paleontological survey will provide documentation that would assist park staff with the development of appropriate and specific management strategies related to the non-renewable fossil resources. The survey can serve to assist in the resource management, research, protection, interpretation, etc. of the wide range of fossil types present at Yellowstone National Park. A detailed list of goals and objectives anticipated are listed below in Section V.

V. Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of this project is to produce a detailed paleontological resource management document that will assist the park staff in the management, research, protection, interpretation of fossils in Yellowstone National Park. The survey will include numerous components which will be provided to the park in the form of written reports, maps and/or photographs. The survey components are directly linked to specific goals/objectives and include:

1. Inventory of Fossil Sites

All known paleontological sites will be inventoried. Each site will be reviewed in terms of paleontological significance, geographic location, stratigraphic range, types of fossil specimens collected, previous research at site, etc. Inventory will include the production of a paleontological resources map for the park. The paleo-resource map will become available for incorporation into the park's Geographic Information System (GIS). Additionally, an attempt will be made to photodocument as many of the park's known paleontological sites as possible. Recommendations will be provided towards establishing a Paleontological Resource Inventory and Monitoring Program at Yellowstone National Park.

2. Produce a Paleo-Species List

A list of all known and described species of fossils, including paleofauna, paleoflora and ichnofossils will be produced. Each fossil taxon will be listed with descriptive information including significance, stratigraphic occurrence, localities collected, associated references, type specimen references, relevant curatorial data (including catalog numbers).

3. Identification of Threats to Park Paleo Resources

The fossil resources at Yellowstone National Park will be evaluated in regards to the types of resource threats. Fossil sites will be assessed regarding rates of erosion, potential for theft or vandalism, and other potential threats to the paleontological resources. An historical review of any past cases of paleontological resource theft will be conducted. Recommendations will be provided to assist park staff in the mitigation of the various threats and adverse impacts to the fossil resources.

4. Historical Review of All Previous Paleo Related Research at Yellowstone National Park

A comprehensive review and documentation of all previous paleontological research conducted at Yellowstone will be performed. Compilation of this data will help to establish a research baseline from which future research needs may be established. Information will include names of investigators and institutions involved in research projects. Dates, geographic areas, stratigraphic ranges, taxonomic groups, etc. will be identified for each project. A chronology of park paleo-research will be established.

5. Compile Paleo-Bibliography for Yellowstone

An intensive bibliographic search of all known bibliographic references pertaining to any paleontological resources at Yellowstone will be undertaken. The bibliography will be annotated and published in the final Paleo Resource Publication provided to Yellowstone. Copies of any relevant paleo-related reference that may not be available in the Yellowstone Library will be provided to the park if possible (at least a photocopy).

6. Curatorial Review of All Park Paleo-Specimens

A review of all known fossil specimens collected from Yellowstone National Park will be accomplished. Fossils specimens in the park collection and in outside repositories will be inventoried. If possible, outside repositories will be visited and specimens examined, photographed and data collected. This component will support the curatorial program in the park. Recommendations specific to curatorial management and preservation of fossil specimens will be provided to park.

7. Paleontological Research Needs

The accumulation of paleo-related data from a wide range of sources will assist in the recognition of specific
paleo resource/research needs at Yellowstone National Park. These recommendations will be provided to the park in the form of Resource Management Plan Project Statements. This format should be in support of the overall management objectives of Yellowstone National Park.

8. Final Oral Presentation/Training for Park Staff

Upon completion of the research and production of Yellowstone Paleo Resource Document, the principle investigators will arrange with park to conduct a training/presentation for park staff. Presentations can be designed to highlight interpretive potential, resource significance, management issues, research past and future, protection strategies, etc.

9. Production of a Yellowstone Paleontological Resources Report

The final component of the survey is the production of a Yellowstone Paleontological Resources Report. This publication will document all of the information gained through each of the other survey components (i.e., site inventories, paleo-species list, identification of fossil threats, bibliography, etc.). This document will be prepared in a format that is most suitable for park staff. Draft copy will be provided to park for review prior to publication.

VI. Park Support

This project is anticipated to take three years to complete. Multiple trips to the park will be necessary to consult with park staff, conduct field surveys and site documentation, examine museum collections, utilize library research materials, provide training, etc. Interviews with park staff and researchers with knowledge of park paleo resources will be valuable. Expenses including transportation, equipment, photographic supplies, etc. are requested. If park housing or group campsites are available, they would be greatly appreciated and would help to reduce expenses.

Requested funding: $66,000

Smaller funding can be directed towards one or more of the component portions of the proposal. These can be channelled towards the greatest needs at Yellowstone National Park.