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Guadalupe Mountains National Park AQRV's

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Aquatic Resources
Most surface waters in Guadalupe Mountains 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 Guadalupe Mountains NP are being affected by air pollutants.

Night Skies
Dark night skies are considered an important air quality related value at Guadalupe Mountains 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 Guadalupe Mountains 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 Big Bend NP in Texas to investigate nitrogen effects on soil dynamics, activities and biodiversity of the soil bacteria and fungi, and plant diversity. Results from these studies may be applicable to Guadalupe Mountains NP.

Several plant species that occur in Guadalupe Mountains NP, including Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine) and Rhus trilobata (skunkbush), are known to be sensitive to atmospheric ozone. Surveys have not been done in the park to evaluate ozone injury. Vegetation in Guadalupe Mountains 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has resulted in changes in species composition and abundance; native plants adapted to nitrogen-poor conditions have been replaced by invasive and exotic species that are better able to utilize nitrogen. Studies are underway in Big Bend NP, also in Texas, to investigate the effects of excess nitrogen on plant diversity. These studies may be applicable to plant communities in Guadalupe Mountains NP.

Visibility is a sensitive AQRV at Guadalupe Mountains NP. Although visibility in the park is still superior to that in many parts of the country, visibility in the park is often impaired by light-scattering pollutants (haze).

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