An Integrated Assessment of the Recovery of Surface Waters from Reduced Levels of Acid Precipitation in the Catskill and Adirondack Regions, New York

Science Center Objects

Problem - Acidic precipitation has affected forested and aquatic ecosystems in New York, particularly in the Adirondack and Catskill regions. Acidification of surface waters and deleterious effects on fish and other biota have been well documented in both these regions. Despite reduced levels of acidity in atmospheric deposition over the past 20 years across New York and the northeastern Uni...

 

Problem - Acidic precipitation has affected forested and aquatic ecosystems in New York, particularly in the Adirondack and Catskill regions. Acidification of surface waters and deleterious effects on fish and other biota have been well documented in both these regions. Despite reduced levels of acidity in atmospheric deposition over the past 20 years across New York and the northeastern United States, the most acid-sensitive streams and lakes have not yet begun to recover, and many show continued declines in acid-neutralizing capacity, an indicator acid-base status. Many studies have documented the effects of acid precipitation in New York, but thus far, there has been no comprehensive effort to synthesize and compare data and results from the Adirondack and Catskill regions. This shortcoming will be addressed by bringing together researchers from five research institutes who have collected data on the effects of acidic precipitation in the Adirondacks and Catskills during the past two decades.

Objectives - Objectives - The principal goal of this study is to synthesize data on the chemistry of streams, lakes, soil, and atmospheric deposition in the Adirondacks and Catskills, and to analyze these data to detect patterns and trends in recovery from reduced levels of acid deposition. Time trends in key chemical indicators of acid-base status will be identified using Seasonal Kendall Tau analysis of at least 5 monitored lake-outlet sites in the Adirondacks and 5 intensively monitored stream sites in the Catskills. Changes in the retention of atmospheric nitrogen deposition over time will be analyzed for these sites as well. Predictions of likely changes in acid-base status of these waters will be made using a biogeochemical model using various future projections of atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur deposition. All data used in the study will be compiled and stored in linked databases that will be made available to the public through a web site. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and communicated to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and invited guests at two annual meetings. The results of this study will be of interest to air pollution policy makers at the state and national level.

Project Location by County

Adirondack Region:
Clinton County, NY, Essex County, NY, Franklin County, NY, Fulton County, NY,
Hamilton County, NY, Herkimer County, NY , Lewis County, NY, Oneida County, NY,
Saint Lawrence County, NY, Saratoga County, NY, Warren County, NY, Washington
County, NY

Catskill Region:
Delaware County, NY, Greene County, NY, Schoharie County, NY, Sullivan County,
NY, Ulster County, NY