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Critical Load Development for Nitrogen and Sulfur Deposition Elizabeth Waddell Air Resources Specialist Pacific West Region 206 220 4287 [email protected] 1. Science Workshop. Funded by NWCAA Co-sponsored by NWCAA, NPS, USFS, and USGS Focus on NW WA but applicability for

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Critical Load Development for Nitrogen and Sulfur Deposition Elizabeth Waddell

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Critical load development for nitrogen and sulfur deposition elizabeth waddell

Critical Load Development for

Nitrogen and Sulfur Deposition

Elizabeth Waddell

Air Resources Specialist

Pacific West Region

206 220 4287

[email protected]

1


Science workshop

Science Workshop

  • Funded by NWCAA

  • Co-sponsored by NWCAA, NPS, USFS, and USGS

  • Focus on NW WA

    but applicability for

    most of R10

2


Participants

Participants

Researchers with expertise in nitrogen and sulfur effects on:

  • Lichens

  • Soil chemistry

  • Vegetation

  • Water chemistry

  • Mycorrhizae

  • Diatoms

  • Deposition monitoring

  • Deposition modeling

  • Setting critical loads

3


Participants1

Participants

  • NPS Science Staff

  • USFS

  • NWCAA

  • PSCAA

  • Ecology

  • Tribes

4


What is a critical load

What is a Critical Load?

“the quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge.”

5


What is a critical load1

What is a Critical Load?

N Deposition (kg/ ha /yr)

Natural background N deposition

Change in algal species

Changes in tree and soil chemistry

Change in alpine

plant species

Effects on aquatic and terrestrial biota (episodic or chronic acidification)

Increased NO3 in lakes

6


Critical loads in action

Critical Loads in Action

  • Critical load work proceeding at Rocky Mountain NP

    • 1.5 kg N/ha/yr for eutrophication effects of alpine lakes

    • Current

      deposition

      is 3-4 kg

      N/ha/yr

  • Partnering

    with CDPHE

    to identify

    sources and

    reduce

    emissions

http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/ap/rmnp.html

7


Current knowledge deposition monitoring

Current Knowledge – Deposition Monitoring

  • NADP Monitoring

    • S deposition – declining

    • N deposition – no trend

      • Between 1 and 2 kg/ha/yr

  • Does not include dry or occult deposition

  • All low elevation sites

8


Current knowledge nadp n deposition monitoring

Current Knowledge – NADP N Deposition Monitoring

9


Current knowledge n deposition monitoring research

Current Knowledge – N Deposition Monitoring Research

  • Throughfall Monitoring

    • Low under canopy

      • Lichens absorbing N?

    • High in bulk

      deposition

    • Inconsistent

      with NADP or CG

  • Snowfall

    • Comparable to NADP

10


Current knowledge deposition modeling research

Current Knowledge – Deposition Modeling Research

WSU CMAQ

preliminary work

based on 36 km

grid

11


Current knowledge deposition modeling research1

Current Knowledge – Deposition Modeling Research

  • Modeling

    • Overpredicts dry

    • Underpredicts wet

    • No cloud

    • Limited sensitivity

      analysis

12


Current knowledge ecological effects

Current Knowledge – Ecological Effects

Lichens

  • Sensitive to air pollution

  • N sensitive lichens absent in areas of “high” nitrogen deposition

  • Preliminary work with Columbia Gorge throughfall monitoring data yields a CL of 2.4 kg/ha/yr

    • 2.0 dry deposition

    • 0.4 wet deposition

13


Current knowledge ecological effects1

Current Knowledge – Ecological Effects

Acidification effects

  • Nutrient effects of N expected to occur at lower deposition rates than acidification effects

  • MAGIC model yielded an “upper bound” CL of 10 kg S/ha/yr for acidification of Lake Eunice (Mt. Rainier)

  • (Recent documentation of episodic acidification at Lake Eunice due to snowmelt pulse)

14


Research priorities

Research Priorities

  • Aquatic Ecosystems

    • Mine existing water quality databases to identify:

      • Areas which may already be affected by N or S deposition

      • Areas which may be sensitive to additional N

    • Establish CL for eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems using RMNP work as a model (diatoms)

15


Research priorities1

Research Priorities

  • Terrestrial Ecosystems

    • Lichens

      • Collect lichens from NADP and “throughfall” sites;

      • Refine deposition modeling and/or conduct additional monitoring to better establish a deposition gradient and/or use PRISM

    • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soils mapping effort

      • Identify sensitive areas (N and Al)

16


Research priorities2

Research Priorities

  • Terrestrial Ecosystems

    • Alpine meadows

      • Fertilization effects research using RMNP as model

    • Mycorrhizal diversity

      • Similar to lichens in terms of PNW ecological importance and diversity.

17


Not a research priority

Not a Research Priority

  • Quantifying actual deposition

  • Adequate to “index” to NADP or other standard monitor

18


Critical load development for nitrogen and sulfur deposition elizabeth waddell

Questions?

19


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