More than 23 years of monitoring and research by USGS scientist Jill Baron and her colleagues (including USGS Water Resources Discipline scientists Don Campbell, David Clow, and M. Alisa Mast) have documented marked ecological and water quality changes from high nitrogen levels in forests, streams, and lakes of the Loch Vale Watershed in Rocky Mountain National Park. These results led officials with the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 8, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to sign a memorandum of understanding to develop air quality management policies and programs that address harmful impacts to air quality and other natural resources in Rocky Mountain National Park. By June 2006 all parties will work to develop a nitrogen deposition goal and/or a proposed air or water quality standard that supports park resource management goals. A technique developed by Dr. Baron, described in her paper “Hindcasting nitrogen deposition to determine an ecological critical load” in the current issue of Ecological Applications (2006, 16433-439), will assist them in this effort.
For more information contact: Jill Baron
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