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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK:
ASSESSMENT OF LONG-TERM AIR QUALITY
PROGRAMMATIC, MONITORING AND RESEARCH NEEDS

Natural Resources Report NPS/NER/NRR—2004/002


Tonnie Maniero1 and Bob Breen2


1National Park Service
15 State Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109


2Acadia National Park
P.O. Box 177
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609


December 2004


U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Northeast Region
Boston, Massachusetts

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Executive Summary

Acadia National Park (NP), as a Class I air quality area, is afforded special air quality protection by the 1977 amendments to the federal Clean Air Act. Since 1979, the park has conducted a comprehensive program that includes 1) ambient air quality monitoring and research; 2) research and monitoring of the effects of air pollutants on visibility, surface water chemistry, soils, sediments and aquatic and terrestrial biota; and 3) public outreach and education regarding air quality. Collected data are used to assess the current and potential effects of air pollution on natural resources in Acadia NP.

In October 2002, staff of Acadia NP and the National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Office initiated a process to assess long-term programmatic, monitoring and research needs relative to park air quality. The process involved both independent and group evaluations, and included a number of NPS and non-NPS participants. The resulting report, completed in fall 2004, is divided into two main sections.

The Background section summarizes the extensive ambient air quality data sets collected in and near the park through spring 2004 including wet, dry and fog/cloud (occult) deposition of anions, cations and mercury, and ambient concentrations of ozone and volatile organic compounds. This section also contains brief summaries of the air pollution effects-related research and monitoring that has taken place in and near the park. Researchers have investigated the effects of 1) atmospheric deposition on park ponds, streams and estuaries, 2) mercury on ecological processes and park biota, and 3) ozone and deposition on park vegetation. Results indicate loss of buffering capacity in park surface waters due to atmospheric deposition and elevated mercury concentrations in fish, amphibians, and piscivorous birds and mammals.

The Long-term Needs Assessment section describes the assessment process in detail, and discusses prioritized long-term air quality programmatic, monitoring and research needs. The section also includes a list of criteria that will be used by staff at Acadia NP to evaluate the usefulness of future project proposals. Continuation of existing ambient and surface water chemistry monitoring is a high priority programmatic need, and mercury will be a focal pollutant for future air pollution effects monitoring and research. NPS staff view the long-term needs assessment as an iterative process. Because the science of air pollution chemistry and effects is a rapidly-advancing field, Acadia NP staff intend to revisit the assessment every five to ten years to add new projects, re-prioritize projects, and reflect any changes in emphasis or direction of the air quality program at Acadia NP.

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pdf file 1
Tables of Content
Executive Summary
Introduction
Background
--Area Description

pdf file 2
Background (continued)
--Atmospheric Depostion
--Air Toxics
--Ozone
Long-term Needs Assessment
Literature Cited