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Badlands National Park Air Quality Monitoring

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Cottonwood Deposition Monitoring Site in Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Air Atlas
Air Atlas is a GIS database of air quality estimates for 270 parks that are part of the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. These estimates can be used when on-site monitoring data is not available.
Air Atlas


Atmospheric Deposition Monitoring
The National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) site at Cottonwood (site #SD08; approximately 20 km northeast of Badlands NP) is used to represent wet deposition at the park. Data are available for this location since 1983. The data show wet deposition of hydrogen ion (acidity), nitrate, sulfate, and ammonium are relatively low. There are no obvious trends in wet sulfate concentration or deposition, wet nitrate concentration, or wet ammonium concentration. There are increasing trends in wet nitrate and wet ammonium deposition (deposition is a function of the amount of precipitation, so these trends could be due to increased precipitation at the monitoring site). The Cottonwood NADP/NTN data indicate that Badlands NP is a relatively clean site and that there is no apparent threat from acidic deposition at the present time.

Night Skies
Night sky monitoring is scheduled for 2005-2006 at Badlands NP, with a report due in 2007. Dark night skies are considered an important air quality related value at Badlands NP, possessing value as a cultural, scenic, natural, and scientific resource. Air pollution and poor quality outdoor lighting degrade night skies, lessening a viewer's ability to see stars and other astronomical objects, and altering the nocturnal scene. Use of high quality lighting that produces very little scattered light can greatly improve the night sky. Reduction of haze from air pollution can also improve the night sky.

Ozone Monitoring
Ozone was monitored at Badlands NP from 1988 to 1992 (site #460711001442011). The data indicated ozone concentrations, at that time, were not high enough to either exceed the human health-based primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard or injure ozone-sensitive vegetation. Ozone monitoring was re-initiated at the park in August 2003. While ozone-sensitive species occur in Badlands NP (e.g., Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)), plants in the park have not been evaluated for ozone injury.

Visibility Monitoring
As part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network, visual air quality in Badlands NP has been monitored using an aerosol sampler (March 1988 through the present), transmissometer (January 1988 through the present), and 35mm camera (August 1987 through March 1995). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Regional Haze regulations require improving visibility in Class I air quality areas on both the best visibility and the worst visibility days. Trend data are not currently available for this site.

updated on 01/18/2006  I   http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/permits/aris/BADL/monitoring.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster