National Park Service

Sonoran Desert I&M Network (SODN)

Air Quality

Air Quality graphic

Air Quality at Class I Parks

Monitoring Brief

Monitoring Protocol

Air Quality

Both the Clean Air Act and the National Park Service Organic Act protect air resources in national parks. Air quality affects park scenery and vistas, vegetation, water, and wildlife. Two Sonoran Desert Network parks, Chiricahua National Monument and Saguaro National Park, are designated as Class I areas under the Clean Air Act. Air quality standards are stricter in these parks than in other network parks.

Because air quality conditions occur over broad spatial scales, park managers have little direct control over the atmospheric conditions of the parks they manage. However, knowing about the state of—and changes in—air quality can help park managers to make planning decisions, influence off-site emitters of pollutants, and indirectly stabilize or improve park air resources. It can also help the Sonoran Desert Network to understand changes in other vital signs.

Information on air quality at all Sonoran Desert Network parks can be found by visiting the website of the National Park Service Air Resources Division, which tracks spatial and temporal trends in ozone, nitrogen deposition, sulfur deposition, and visibility-reducing pollutants in all units of the National Park System.

The Sonoran Desert Network uses information provided by the Air Resources Division to provide occasional updates on air quality in network parks. For more information, contact the National Park Service Air Resources Division or Andy Hubbard, Program Manager, Sonoran Desert Network.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster