Long-Term Monitoring of Buck Creek Watershed in the Western Adirondack Region of New York

Science Center Objects

Monitoring of lake chemistry in the western Adirondack region has indicated reductions in the acidity of these lakes during the past two decades. However, lakes are not always reliable indicators of streams and soils. Uncertainty remains regarding the recovery potential of surface waters and the effects of acidic deposition on soils. Furthermore, nitrogen, long considered a growth-limiting nutr...

Monitoring of lake chemistry in the western Adirondack region has indicated reductions in the acidity of these lakes during the past two decades. However, lakes are not always reliable indicators of streams and soils. Uncertainty remains regarding the recovery potential of surface waters and the effects of acidic deposition on soils. Furthermore, nitrogen, long considered a growth-limiting nutrient for northern temperate forests, is likely to be available in excess of that needed by Adirondack forest ecosystems as a result of acidic deposition. In this region, excess nitrogen in the soil leads to acidification of soils and surface waters. Calcium, important for acid neutralization, is also an important nutrient, but has been leached out of soils by the acidity in atmospheric deposition.

The study is being conducted in Buck Creek watershed in the Western Adirondack region. Monitoring of stream flow and chemistry is conducted year-round in north and south tributary watersheds of Buck Creek, and at the base of the Buck Creek watershed. Monitoring of soil chemistry is also done at 10 year intervals.

The primary focus of this study is to monitor stream water to document changes that are occurring in response to changes in air quality, and more recently, climate. This project, begun in 1997, also supports other studies conducted in the Adirondack region, that are related to atmospheric deposition inputs and calcium leaching, such as the Western Adirondack Stream Survey (WASS) and East-central Adirondack Stream Survey (ECASS) that evaluate acid rain impacts on the chemistry and biota throughout the Western Adirondack region.

In conjunction with the research being conducted in and around Buck Creek watershed, the USGS is providing interpretive assistance to the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC), which has been monitoring the chemistry of several streams in the Adirondack region of New York for over 20 years as part of their mission to monitor the environmental effects of acid rain. The USGS provides technical expertise in analyzing this data to determine if patterns in stream chemistry over this period are related to levels of acidic deposition. Ongoing analyses are written up as reports for the ALSC, and peer-reviewed articles for technical journals.

 

Related Publications

Beier, C. M., A. M. Woods, K. P. Hotopp, J. P. Gibbs, M. J. Mitchel, M. Dovciak, D. J. Leopold, G. B. Lawrence, and B. P. Page. 2012. Changes in faunal and vegetation communities along a soil calcium gradient in northern hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:1141-1152.

Lawrence, G.B., H.A. Simonin, B.P. Baldigo, K.M. Roy, and S.B. Capone. 2011. Changes in the chemistry of acidifed Adirondack streams from the early 1980s to 2008. Environmental Pollution 159:2750-2758.

Lawrence, G.B., T.J. Sullivan, K.C. Weathers, B.J. Cosby, and T.C. McDonnell. 2011. Comparison of methods for estimating critical loads of acidic deposiiton in the western Adirondack region of New York.  NYSERDA Report 11-13, New York State Energy Research and Technology Authority, Albany, NY. http://ny.water.usgs.gov/pubs/jrn/aluminum-report.pdf 

Baldigo, B. P., G. B. Lawrence, Bode R.W., H. A. Simonin, K. M. Roy, and A. J. Smith. 2009. Impacts of acidification on macroinvertebrate communities in streams of the western Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA. Ecological Indicators 9:226-239.

Lawrence, G. B., K. M. Roy, B. P. Baldigo, H. A. Simonin, S. I. Passy, B. R.W., and S. B. Capone. 2008. Results of the 2003-2005 Western Adirondack Stream Survey (WASS). NYSERDA Report 08-22, New York State Energy Research and Technology Authority, Albany, NY.

Lawrence, G. B., K. M. Roy, B. P. Baldigo, H. A.  Simonin, S. B. Capone, J. S. Sutherland, S. A. Nierswicki-Bauer, and C. W. Boylen. 2008. Chonic and episodic acidification of Adirondack Streams from Acid Rain in 2003-2005. Journal of Environ­mental Quality 37, 2264-2274.

Passy , S.I., I. Ciugulea and G.B. Lawrence, 2007, Higher diatom species diversity discovered in chronically vs. episodically acidic streams in the Adirondack region of New York. International Review of Hydrobiology, vol. 91, p. 594-608.

Ross, D.S., 2007, A carbon-based method for estimating the wetness of forest surface soil horizons. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 37, 846-852.

Baldigo, B.P., Lawrence, G.B., and Simonin, H.A., 2007, Persistent mortality of brook trout in episodically acidified streams of the southwestern Adirondack Mountains, New York. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, vol. 136, p. 121-134.

Lawrence, G.B., J.W. Sutherland, C.W. Boylen, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, B. Momen, K.M. Roy, B.P. Baldigo, H.A. Simonin, and S.B. Capone, 2007. Acid rain effects on aluminum miobilization clarified by inclusion of strong organic acids. Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 41, p. 93-98.

Passy, S.I. 2006. Diatom dynamics in streams of chronic and episodic acidification: the role of environment and time. Journal of Phycology, vol. 42, 312-323.

Ross, D.S., Fredriksen, G., Jamison, A.E., Wemple, B.C., Bailey, S.W., Shanley, J.B., and Lawrence, G.B. 2006. One-day measurements for estimating net nitrification potential in forest soils. Forest Ecology and Management vol. 230, p. 91-95.

Momen, B., Lawrence, G.B., Nierzwicki-Bauer, S.A., Sutherland, J.W., Eichler, L.W., Harrison, J.P., and Boylen, C.W. 2006. Trends in summer chemistry linked to productivity in lakes recovering from acid deposition in the Adirondack Region of New York. Ecosystems, vol. 9, p. 1306-1317.

Ross, D.S., Lawrence, G.B., and Fredriksen, Guinevere, 2004, Mineralization and nitrification patterns at eight northeastern USA forested research sites: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 188, p. 317-335.  http://ny.water.usgs.gov/pubs/jrn/ny3052/jrn04-ra420a.pdf

Lawrence, G.B., Momen, Bahram, Roy, K.M., 2004, Use of stream chemistry for monitoring acidic deposition effects in the Adirondack Region of New York: Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 33, no. 3, p. 1002-1009.

Lawrence, G.B., 2002, Persistent episodic acidification of streams linked to acid rain effects on soil: Atmospheric Environment, v. 36, p. 1589-1598.  http://ny.water.usgs.gov/pubs/jrn/ny0189/jrn02-r33100i.pdf

Driscoll, C.T., Lawrence, G.B., Bulger, A.J., Butler, T.J., Cronan, C.S., Eager, Christopher, Lambert, K.F., Likens, G.E., Stoddard, J.L., Weathers, K.C., 2001, Acidic deposition in the Northeastern United States: Sources and inputs, ecosystem effects and management strategies: BioScience, v. 51, no. 3, p. 180-198  http://ny.water.usgs.gov/pubs/jrn/ny0177/jrn01­r33102a.pdf 

Project
Location by County

Hamilton County, NY