The National Park Service has approved the construction of a National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) site on Yellowstone’s Blacktail Deer Plateau.
According to a Yellowstone press release, construction on the facility will begin late fall 2017, pausing for winter, before resuming in July 2018, once bear management closures on the plateau are lifted.
Yellowstone previously solicited public comment on the proposal, seeking comments on the facility’s impact on Yellowstone’s wildlife and scenery. According to the press release, Acting National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director Kate Hammond approved a Finding of No Significant Impact October 23, 2017.
The Blacktail site will collect data related to climate change, invasive species, and landscape changes. Said data will be available to scientists, researchers, and the public in order to better understand how landscapes like Yellowstone undergo change and weather environmental stresses.
NEON operates 81 field sites across the United States in “20 eco-climatic domains.” The Yellowstone site belongs in the “Northern Rockies” domain; other domains include the Pacific Northwest, Tundra, Ozarks Complex, mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes, among others. You can see a full list of NEON sites here.
According to the press release, the NEON site will operate for 30 years. At the end of its tenure in the park, the site will be dismantled and park staff will restore the grounds.