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Capitol Reef National Park AQRV's

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Aquatic Resources
Most surface waters in Capitol Reef NP are likely to be well-buffered and, as a result, insensitive to acidic atmospheric deposition because of an abundance of base cations in underlying park soils and rocks. However, studies currently underway have identified certain soils in the park that appear to be very sensitive to acidification; small potholes or other waterbodies on these soils may also be vulnerable to acidification. Small potholes may also be sensitive to nutrient enrichment from nitrogen deposition. Nitrogen enrichment may result in algae blooms and oxygen depletion, but no studies have been done to study these potential effects in the park.

While there have been no systematic studies, there is currently no information indicating that wildlife in Capitol Reef NP are being affected by air pollutants.

Night Skies
Dark night skies are considered an important air quality related value at Capitol Reef 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.

Soils in Capitol Reef NP may be sensitive to atmospheric deposition of nitrogen compounds. In some areas of the country, elevated nitrogen deposition has been shown to alter soil nutrient cycling. Studies are underway in Canyonlands NP to investigate nitrogen effects on soil dynamics, exotic plant invasiveness, and biological soil crusts. Results from these studies may be applicable to Capitol Reef NP.

Several plant species that occur in Capitol Reef NP are known to be sensitive to ozone, including Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen), Amelanchier alnifolia (serviceberry), and Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine).

Vegetation in Capitol Reef NP may also be sensitive to nitrogen deposition. In some parts of the country, excess nitrogen deposition has resulted in changes in species composition and abundance; native plants adapted to nitrogen-poor conditions have been replaced by invasive and exotic species that are better able to utilize nitrogen.

Visibility is a sensitive AQRV at Capitol Reef NP. The data record at Capitol Reef NP (from the aerosol sampler) is insufficient to analyze temporal trends. However, an analysis of 1990-1999 data from the Colorado Plateau region indicates that visibility in other parks is improving somewhat on the clearest days, but degrading on the haziest days.

updated on 12/11/2006  I   http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/permits/aris/CARE/aqrv.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster