The Southern Rockies-Colorado Plateau Domain offers research opportunities focused on land use. The domain itself includes large sections of the states that comprise the Four Corners: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. The NEON candidate core site will be located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in the northeastern corner of the domain at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Center at Niwot Ridge, Colorado. Niwot Ridge has served as both a Long-Term Ecological Research site and an Ameriflux (atmospheric) research site. Research aspects unique to the area include: the impacts of urban pollution (from the Denver metropolitan corridor) on the endangered alpine ecosystem, a high-elevation to Great Basin research zone, and an opportunity to study the movement of dust and its impacts across the region.
Domain: Southern Rockies-Colorado Plateau (Domain #13)
Science Focus: Land use.
Candidate Core Site Name: Niwot Ridge.
Representativeness: The site represents nationally critical habitat representative of the domain, including alpine tundra, treeline ecotone, oligotrophic alpine lakes, high-elevation streams, and extensive forested areas with at-risk seasonal snowpacks.
Location: Latitude: 40.054; Longitude: -105.582.
Existing Infrastructure: The Mountain Research Station (MRS), an interdisciplinary research facility of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (University of Colorado) has housing for approximately 80 people in a mix of small and large cabins. The John W. Marr Alpine Laboratory contains offices, laboratories, computer lab, classroom, seminar room, and a lounge. The 10,000 sq ft Tundra Laboratory has excellent line power and data communications.
Unique Feature: The Niwot Ridge LTER project has conducted research and monitoring activities since 1980.