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Air Quality at Big Bend National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Big Bend National Park in Texas
Big Bend NP, Texas

Most visitors who come to national parks expect clean air and clear views. However, Big Bend National Park (NP), Texas, boasting mountain, desert, and river environments, lies downwind of major pollution sources in eastern Texas, other U.S. states, and Mexico. Air pollutants carried into the park can harm natural and scenic resources such as forests, soils, streams, fish, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Big Bend National Park?

  • Fine particles of air pollution cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. more »
  • Nitrogen and sulfur are carried by rain, snow, and dust particles into park ecosystems, and may affect sensitive aquatic and terrestrial resources. more »
  • Ozone concentrations in the park are elevated to levels known to cause injury to sensitive plants, but dry conditions may limit ozone uptake and injury. more »
  • Airborne toxics deposit in park ecosystems, potentially accumulating in birds and wildlife to harmful levels. more »

What is the National Park Service doing about air pollution at the park?

  • Monitoring nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, toxics, fine particles, and haze to assess status and trends. more »
  • Evaluating the impacts of air pollution on park ecosystems. more »
  • Working with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups to develop strategies to reduce air pollution and protect and restore park resources. The NPS also reviews plans for development that may increase air pollution in national parks. more »
  • Using an environmentally-friendly vehicle fleet, adapting park facilities and infrastructure to conserve energy, and limiting brush burning to reduce in-park air pollutant emissions. more »

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including fine particles, nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, and mercury affect resources such as streams, soils, and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Big Bend NP Air Pollution Impacts web page.

Studies and Monitoring icon

Studies and monitoring help the NPS understand the environmental impacts of air pollution. Access air quality data and see what is happening with Studies and Monitoring at Big Bend NP.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016