GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 182-8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


DUNN, Colin R., Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District Office, 1800 Marquess St, Las Cruces, NM 88005,

Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (PTNM) was designated as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Monument consists of approximately 5,280 acres in the southern Robledo Mountains, northwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico. PTNM was designated to protect extensive and diverse Early Permian (Wolfcampian) trackways of the Hueco Fm. These trackways were described in the 1994 BLM Paleozoic Trackways Scientific Study Report as the “most scientifically significant Early Permian tracksites” in the world.

The PTNM Resource Management Plan was finalized in November 2015, and it stipulated that a paleontological monitoring plan be developed within two years. An 11 week GeoCorps internship at the BLM Las Cruces District Office was designed to develop this monitoring plan in the summer of 2016. Further goals of the internship were to develop a paleontological resource inventory plan of PTNM and adjacent Organ Mountain – Desert Peaks National Monument, as well as begin to design scientific interpretation of PTNM for the public.

In-situ paleontological resources in PTNM are subject to both natural threats, such as weathering and landslides, and human threats, ranging from unintentional damage to theft and vandalism. Additionally, as the BLM is a multi-use land management agency, fossil resources must contend with other land uses such as livestock grazing and off highway vehicles on trails.

The draft monitoring plan proposes the use of photogrammetry and LiDAR techniques to create a detailed data baseline to which future monitoring efforts will be compared. Monitoring surveys at known fossil localities will document potential hazards, while future inventories will document hazards as localities are recorded. Using this data, schedules for site monitoring and mitigation will be developed and adjusted over time.

The focus on the inventory plan is to utilize the current 1:500,000 Potential Fossil Yield Classification (PFYC) in concert with 1:24,000 geologic maps to prioritize areas for inventory within the monuments. Inventories will be pedestrian block surveys and will be conducted by BLM and paleontologists, consultants, and permittees. Current data collection specifications are being expanded to capture more taxonomic and stratigraphic data.