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About CNHA

Canyonlands Natural History Association is a nonprofit organization established to assist the scientific and educational efforts of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA Forest Service in southeast Utah.

Photo: Jeff, Arches Bookstore Manager
Discovery Pool

Discovery Pool Grants

The Discovery Pool research grant program was established by CNHA to encourage and provide funding for research partnerships between qualified scientists and our federal NPS, BLM, and USFS partners in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado.

Since its inception in 2007, CNHA's Discovery Pool has awarded over $316,000 in grants.

The goals for the Discovery Pool grants are:

1. Encourage the scientific research that makes up the backbone of interpretive and educational programs. Our definition of "scientific research" also includes includes resource management or protection surveys and monitoring.
2. Provide funds directly to the federal partners so that all monies apply directly to the granting project and none are absorbed by a third party for administrative costs.
3. Provide matching funds that may assist public-land partners in obtaining larger grants for work consistent with Goal 1.
4. Promote an understanding of the intricate cultural and natural resource complexities found on federally administered lands.
5. Fund projects that result in information that CNHA can publicize on a popular level, to help visitors understand the value and fragility of the natural and cultural resources of the region.

If you are interested in applying for a Discovery Pool Grant, the guidelines and application are available hereApplications must be received no later than 5 pm on November 15th, 2015.




Cedar Mesa Building Murals and Social Identities Project: Phase III ($5,000.00)
How did Ancestral Puebloans use building murals to signal individual and community identities and their participation ancient religious networks in the thirteenth century A.D. in Southeastern Utah?

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History ($12,100.00)
This project will survey and photo-document approximately 500 archaeological textiles, baskets, wooden implements, hides, and other perishable artifacts collected during the 1890s from Grand Gulch and other federal lands.

Excavation of a New Small Vertebrate Locality in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation ($7,578.00)
What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs, squamates, mammals) tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Paleontological Investigations of Comb Ridge, Utah; a Public Education Field School ($4,900.00)
How does the early Mesozoic fauna of Comb Ridge relate to the better known fossil localities in Utah and Arizona?

Potential Impacts from Introduced Mountain Goats on the La Sal Mountains Alpine Arthropod Communities: Baseline Conditions ($9,960.00)
Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

Prehistoric Site Documentation and Chronology on BLM Lands in SE Utah ($4,950.00)
What are the chronology perimeters of the Pueblo lll occupations in the SE Utah canyon country and how does these coincide with the larger migrations and abandonments of the Northern San Juan?


Cedar Mesa Building Murals and Social Identities Project: Phase II
This phase of the project will continue the inventory of the remaining Ancestral Puebloan building murals in the Cedar Mesa area and define their context, content, and chronology.

Excavation of New Fossil Localities in Cedar Mountain Formation ($8,165.00)
Dr. Zanno's team will excavate a new species of plant-eating dinosaur discovered in 2014 in southeastern Utah.

Mammal Response to Holocene Climate and Land Use Change on the Colorado Plateau ($15,000.00)
How did the mammal community in the Canyon Rims area of southeastern Utah change through time, and how does it compare to the modern mammal community?

Newly Discovered Fossil Assemblages and Their Paleoenvironmental Context in the Upper Chinle Formation ($15,385.00)
This research will test for paleolatitudinal differences in paleoenvironment and biota over the last eight million years of the Triassic Period.

Paleontological Investigations of Comb Ridge, Utah (BLM) ($3,335.96)
Robert Gay will have high school students participate in a paleontological field school.


Cedar Mesa Building Murals and Social Identities Project (BLM) ($5,000.00)
This project seeks to continue an inventory of the remaining building murals in the Cedar Mesa area, in southeastern Utah, to define the context, content, and chronology of building murals across the larger landscape and through time.

Excavation and Identification of the Geologically Oldest Sauropod Dinosaur in North America (BLM) ($8,695.00)
This project will excavate a Dystrophaeus site 155 years its discovery, to identify this sauropod. and determine how it fits in the evolutionary picture of these animals in North America.

Excavation of New Fossil Vertebrates Localities in the Upper Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation (BLM) ($5,000.00)
Dinosaurs of the mid-Cretaceous are extremely rare worldwide. This project will continue excavation of the Cedar Mountain Formation, that has yielded mulitple formerly unknown dinosaur faunas.


Distance and Temperature Effects on Pika Forage (USFS) ($11,873.00)
This research will measure soil surface temperature and plant species composition to establish a baseline for future species composition and temperature change comparisons.

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts at the Museum of the American Indian (BLM) ($18,625.00)
This project will survey and photodocument approximately 400 archaeological textiles, baskets, wooden implements, hides and other perishable artifacts.

Gardeners and Gatekeepers: Pueblo I Community Study II (USFS) ($12,779.00)
The principle aim of this project is to collect additional field data from a selection of important Pueblo I period ancestral Puebloan sites within the Monticello Ranger District of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

Phase II of Analysis of Ceramic Sherd Collections from Hovenweep National Monument (NPS) ($15,500.00)
Anaysis will be completed on approx. 2,500 sherds. Rim arc and temper data will also be collected to increase understanding of vessel size and distribution.


Ceramic Analysis of Sherd Collections from Hovenweep National Monument ($15,000.00)
This project seeks to bring Hovenweep's ceramic collection together for examination to obtain data that can be used to answer research questions and provide interpretive information.

Completion of Documentation of Perishable Artifacts ($15,000.00)
Completion of the survey and documentation of textiles, baskets, and other perishable artifacts in the Green and Lang collections, the Field Museum of Natural History.


Chemical Matching of Ceramics to Material Source Areas - Goodman Point ($11,000.00)
This study will use chemical matching of ceramics from the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument to material source areas to determine social and economic ties of prehistoric groups through time.

Climate Driven Changes in Englemann Spruce Stands in the La Sal Mountains ($9,600.00)
How will global warming and changing precipitation patterns effect timberline elevation and spruce tree stands in the La Sal Mountains?

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts ($7,395.00)
This project will survey and photodocument archaeological textiles, baskets, and other perishable artifacts in the Green and Lang collections at the Field Museum of Natural History from Grand Gulch and adjacent public lands.

Gardeners and Gatekeepers: Pueblo I Community in Allen Canyon ($12,726.00)
The goal of this project is to collect field data from the Pueblo I period Ancestral Puebloan community and investigate the development and nature of the Pueblo I community in the area.

Structural Wood Documentation and Dendrochronology in SE Utah ($7,980.00)
The project goals are to document the perisible structural wood resources of standing prehistoric cliff structures on a site-by-site basis. The information gathered will broaden our understanding of 12th and 13th century Puebloan settlement and abandonmen


Multi-Spectral Imaging of Rock Art in Canyonlands National Park ($15,000.00)
Private contractor Bud Turner continues his work using spectral photography documenting pictographs and reveal hidden elements of this ancient artwork, aiding in their preservation and restoration.


Alpine Habitat Baseline Study ($14,996.00)
Erigeron mancus (La Sal daisy) elevational density gradient as a baseline to detect future climate change in LaSal Mountain alpine habitats. U.S. Forest Service, Jim Fowler/Barb Smith.

Bighorn Sheep Study ($5,000.00)
Determining migrational corridors used by desert bighorn sheep rams and compiling 12 years of mortality and home range data on ram and ewe home ranges in southeastern Utah. Bureau of Land Management, Pam Riddle


Alpine Vegetation Impact Assessment ($2,400.00)
Mt. Peale Research Natural Area Alpine Vegetation Impact Assessment

Aquatic Invertebrate Surveys ($7,000.00)
Aquatic invertebrate surveys on the Green River in Desolation and Grey Canyons (pre-dam vs. current condition).

Bighorn Sheep Collaring ($15,000.00)
Bighorn Sheep Collaring, Maze District, Canyonlands National Park

Documenting a Threatened Cultural Landscape ($15,000.00)
Comb Ridge Heritage Initiative Project, San Juan Corridor; Documenting a Threatened Cultural Landscape.

Multi-Spectral Imaging of Rock Art in Canyonlands National Park ($15,000.00)
Bud Turner, private contractor, employed spectral photography to document pictographs and reveal elements of this ancient artwork, aiding in their preservation and restoration.

Springs, Seeps, and Hanging Garden Ecosystems ($10,000.00)
Biology Department Mesa State College, Assessment of Biological and Physical Relationships of Springs, Seeps, and Hanging Garden Ecosystems Across a Gradient of Human Impacts


Bighorn Sheep Collaring
The National Park Service is interested in maintaining a viable herd of Desert Bighorn sheep in areas of the park where sheep historically roamed.

Goodman Point Archeological Project
Crow Canyon Archeological Center was awarded a grant for studying the Goodman Point unit of Hovenweep National Monument.

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