Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM
BONE BED SURVEYS: MAKING USE OF THE DATA
In 1999, the National Park Service approved funding for a 3-year Bone Bed Survey Project within the confines of Badlands National Park (BADL) beginning in the summer of 2000. Funds for this project come from the Natural Resources Preservation Program (NRPP). At the conclusion of the third and final year of the NRPP Bone Bed Survey examination of the lower Scenic Member, Brule Formation, White River Group in BADL, well over 500 new fossil sites have been recorded using GPS information. These data have been converted into a GIS format for use by BADL land managers to focus attention on particularly sensitive areas within Park boundaries, direct law enforcement efforts to these areas, and preservation of specimens coming from the continually eroding sediments. Through this 3-year survey, the collection of numerous vertebrate fossils, associated sediments, and stratigraphic analyses from these localities have provided Park officials with increased information to better understand the depositional characteristics of the areas rich in fossil resources. Plans are currently underway to develop monitoring programs for the richest bone bed locations within the surveyed areas.
It is recommended that Badlands National Park continue with these types of surveys as fossil resources are virtually everywhere within its boundaries. Expansion into other stratigraphic levels is also strongly encouraged and recommended. Monitoring programs and law enforcement policies should be strengthened as a method to protect the wealth of fossil resources within the Park.