Biologists to conduct annual elk census in Olympic National Park

Biologists will begin a population census of Roosevelt elk in Olympic National Park on Sunday. Staff from the park and U.S. Geological Survey will count elk from a low-flying helicopter during early morning (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and late afternoon hours (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Aug. 17- 20, weather permitting.

The aerial counts will occur only in high elevation areas of the Elwha, Hoh, South Fork Hoh, Queets, and Quinault Valleys within Olympic National Park boundaries.

“The elk survey is part of our ongoing effort to monitor and understand the condition of our park resources and ecosystems,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “This census will provide valuable information about the status of Roosevelt elk in the park.”

Park biologists will count elk in subalpine and alpine meadows. The surveys will provide estimates of abundance, sex and age composition, and distribution of migratory elk in high altitude areas of the park. Information gathered during the census will be available next spring.

Elk censuses have been conducted in the park annually since 2011.

The elk monitoring program is a component of the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN) Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program. Monitoring is conducted in partnership with Mount Rainier National Park and USGS and in cooperation the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Point-no-Point Treaty Tribes, Quinault Indian Nation, and Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife.

This project, along with several others, is made possible through a $21,000 grant from Washington’s National Park Fund. Information about Washington’s National Park Fund and how to contribute is available at http://wnpf.org.

Information about the NCCN I&M Program, elk monitoring, and annual reports is available at http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/nccn/monitor/elk.cfm


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