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Colorado Plateau Research Station

The CPRS in Flagstaff, AZ is a diverse scientific unit that works on such issues as endangered and at-risk species, communities, and habitats; wildlife ecology in the urban–wildland interface; reconstructing past vegetation patterns on the Colorado Plateau and predicting future vegetation responses to climate change; invasive species; vegetation surveys, ecology, and mapping in the national parks; rattlesnake and other reptile ecology in the southwest; small mammal studies; wildlife genetics as a conservation tool; using information technology for resources stewardship; and natural resource monitoring on public lands.

photo of bird

The CPRS consists of state and federal employees focused on the ecology of the Colorado Plateau. The CPRS works in cooperation with federal, state, tribes and local agencies such as Northern Arizona University and the Grand Canyon National Park.

photo of cactus

The research station was originally established in 1989 as a National Park Service Cooperative Park Studies Unit at Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, Arizona. CPRS was then merged into the United States Geological Survey in 1996 when the National Biological Service was incorporated into the USGS as the Biological Resources Division. In 1997 the CPRS became part of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, and in October 2002 became a part of the SBSC.

One area of CPRS research focuses on historical vegetation of the Colorado Plateau. Plant fossils such as leaves, wood, cones, pollen and seeds provide the CPRS with important evidence of how vegetation has responded to climate change.

Other Research Efforts

  • Neotropical migrant bird monitoring program
  • Yellow-billed cuckoo research
  • Small vertebrate studies
  • Vegetation studies such as classification, description, and mapping of vegetation alliances
  • Global change studies
  • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher studies
  • Pronghorn antelope studies
Contact Information:
Manager: Charles Van Riper (III)
Phone: 520.626.7027
Fax: 520.670.5001
U.S. Geological Survey
Colorado Plateau Research Station
2255 N. Gemini Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Colorado Plateau Research Station
Visitor Information:
Flagstaff Convention & Visitors' Bureau: Travel guide events calendar, and local information
Flagstaff Guide Information on Flagstaff and surrounding communities, including current weather conditions
Map: Flagstaff
Map: USGS Flagstaff Field Center campus