Importance and Issues
Air quality can affect human and ecosystem health. The Clean Air Act of 1970 set out to preserve, protect and enhance air quality in the country, and in 1977 amended the act to include all NPS units greater than 6,000 acres as Class I areas receiving the greatest level of protection. Only Shenandoah National Park in the Mid-Atlantic Network (MIDN) is a Class I park, but all parks in the network will benefit from improved air quality.
Park managers will benefit from knowing the type and extent of various air pollutants in order to evaluate their impacts on park resources. The NPS Air Resources Division (ARD) administers an Air Monitoring Program that provides current air quality conditions and assesses long-term trends in pollutants that affect national park resources. The data comes from a variety of sources including monitoring stations in parks and a number of interagency programs.
- Document the annual status of and trends in atmospheric ozone concentrations in MIDN parks using metrics that are relevant to human health (e.g., 8-hour average) and plant response (e.g., W126 index).
- Document the annual status of and trends in visibility in MIDN parks.
- Document the annual status of and trends in wet deposition of ammonium, nitrate, sulfate, nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury in MIDN parks.
Where We Monitor
- Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
- Booker T. Washington National Monument
- Eisenhower National Historic Site
- Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
- Gettysburg National Military Park
- Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
- Petersburg National Battlefield Park
- Richmond National Battlefield
- Shenandoah National Park
- Valley Forge National Historical Park
Periodically, we publish reports that describe what we are learning in the field. These monitoring reports are more in-depth than resource briefs and include data analysis and a discussion of our findings.
Protocols describe how we monitor. They include a descriptive narrative of what we monitor and why, our field methods, how we analyze and manage our data, and more. All of our protocols are peer reviewed.
Visibility Monitoring Standard Operating Procedures (IMPROVE - Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments)
Last updated: December 20, 2018