National Park Service

Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network (ERMN)

Air Quality Monitoring

Ozone injury to common milkweed leaf at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS
Ozone injury to common milkweed leaf at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS

NPS Air Resource Division

Air Quality Monitoring and Data

Air Quality Condition and Trend Reports

Vital Signs

Ozone; Wet Deposition; Visibility and Particulate Matter; Mercury Deposition


Under the Clean Air Act, park managers have a responsibility to protect air quality and related values from the adverse effects of air pollution. Protection of air quality in national parks requires knowledge about the origin, transport, and fate of air pollution, as well as its impacts on resources. In order to be effective advocates for the protection of park air resources, NPS managers need to know the air pollutants of concern, existing levels of air pollutants in parks, park resources at risk, and the potential or actual impact on these resources. The ERMN will meet this need in collaboration with monitoring specialists at the NPS Air Resources Division (ARD) through the nationwide NPS air quality monitoring network and additional data sources.

The ERMN is specifically interested in documenting long-term trends in the following air pollutants: ozone, atmospheric deposition, mercury deposition, and visibility and particulate matter.

Monitoring Effort

all ERMN parks

Monitoring Objectives

  • Document annual status and trends of atmospheric ozone concentrations in ERMN parks using metrics that are indicative of human health (e.g., 8-hour average) and plant response (e.g., SUM06).
  • Document annual status and trends in wet deposition in ERMN parks of hydrogen (acidity as pH), sulfate (SO4), nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4), chloride, and base cations (such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium).
  • Report on annual status and trends of mercury concentration and deposition in precipitation in ERMN parks.
  • Report on annual status and trends of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and coarse particulate matter (PM10) concentrations and composition in ERMN parks as they pertain to visibility impairment and human health.Estimate annual levels of watershed-scale occupancy, abundance, and richness of focal bird species or guilds, while accounting for imperfect detection, to evaluate associations with existing watershed conditions.

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