Assessment looks at vital water sources on Monument

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COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT, Colo. Water is limited for the hundreds of animal and plant species that live on the Colorado National Monument and a new assessment is making sure the water is preserved.

"When you say all this water, there's not a lot," said Nancy Lamm, a geoscientist with the Geological Society for America. "That's why it's important to preserve the resources."

Lamm is teaming up with ecologist and CMU student Summer Igo to do a seeps and springs assessment this summer.

Seeps and springs are the water sources that come out of the ground on the Monument.

"They're probably a pretty significant resource because they're pools of open water available for wildlife," Lamm said.

The assessment will compile data for the animal species who use the water and the plant species that live around it and propose ways to preserve it.

"We look in terms of hikers along trails whether it's a sensitive area maybe reroute the trail around a primary seep or spring," Lamm said.

There are more than 35 seeps and springs in the area of the Colorado National Monument.

"If the ground water is being depleted then these ecosystems will eventually diminish," Igo said. "That will lose some of the sensitive plant species and animals that live here."

The Colorado National Monument Association is funding the $3,500 project using profits from bookstore sales and membership fees.

The assessment had been in the planning stages for the past three years.

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