Air Quality Related Values in National Parks

Prairie Wildflowers at Pipestone National Monument
Air quality related values include vegetation, clear views, wildlife, and lichen.

NPS Photo

Air quality related values (AQRVs) are resources that may be adversely affected by a change in air quality. The resource may include visibility or a specific scenic, cultural, physical, biological, ecological, or recreational resource. NPS AQRVs include visibility, vegetation, water quality, soils, and fish and wildlife.

The harm to national park resources from air pollution depends on how much and what kind of pollutant exposure occurs, and on the sensitivity of park resources. The amount and type of air pollution varies considerably across national park lands as does the sensitivity of resources. These reports synthesize current scientific understanding about the causes and effects of air pollution for more than 270 parks with identified natural resources. These are the NPS Inventory and Monitoring parks. Pollutant categories evaluated here include:

  • ground-level ozone
  • particles affecting visibility, and
  • atmospheric deposition of acids, nutrients, and toxics

Recent trends in pollutant exposure and adverse effects to AQRVs are highlighted. Where possible, this report series also identifies the levels of pollutant deposition where harm to resources is known (critical load).

An interactive mapper is also available to visualize relative nitrogen pollutant exposure, ecosystem sensitivity, park protection mandates, and overall park and network risk.

Select an AQRV report from the network map or list below.

Air Quality Related Values Network Map