SDCP desert scene  - Illustration by Bill Singleton
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Ecological Monitoring

Biological Monitoring

Welcome to the homepage for the Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP).  This webpage is a portal to provide update and links for the program’s activities, tools, and products.   

What is ecological monitoring?

Monitoring is the repeated measurement of the same attribute over time to determine its status or trend. Monitoring allows us to periodically answer questions such as: “How many do we have?” and “Where are they located?” In recent decades ecological monitoring has grown in importance as policy makers and the general public demand more accurate information on the status and trends of a wide range of natural resources, from air quality to wildlife populations, from entire ecosystems to individual species. 


Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program

The Pima County’s Ecological Monitoring Program (PCEMP) is being designed to monitor a suite of resources that will help Pima County determine if the biological goal of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is being achieved and to provide information to managers to help them take more informed management actions.  The PCEMP will monitor some endangered species and species of concern, but also many of the habitat components that they and other species need for survival.  These broader structural and functional ecosystem “indicators” include vegetation, water resources (quantity and quality), and land cover. Other program elements include threats monitoring (e.g., invasive species) and climate monitoring. 
The summary report below, along with the associated supplemental documents, provides a more in-depth summary of the proposed program.

Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program: Phase II Summary

Supplementary materials to the Phase II summary:

Supplement A: Species Accounts and Management and Monitoring Commitments for the Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program

Supplement B: Selecting Parameters for Ecological Monitoring Programs: A Case Study of Pima County

Supplement C: Vegetation Monitoring Protocol for the Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program

Supplement D: Example of the Use of LiDAR for Monitoring Vegetation Characteristics: An example from the Cienega Creek Nature Preserve

Supplement E. Data Management Plan for the Pima County Ecological Monitoring Program


Aquifer Monitoring For Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems, Pima County, Arizona

Remote Sensing To Monitor Land Cover Change, Pima County, Arizona


Monitoring Background Reports

Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Home