Please join us at the National Park Service “Jefferson Place” Office off Wadsworth and Hampden (US285) in Lakewood on Thursday, May 17 for another luncheon meeting of the Rocky Mountain States Section of the Air & Waste Management Association. Mike Bell and Kristi Morris of the NPS Air Resources Division in Denver will address issues and changes in the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). We will start with refreshments and networking at 11:30, followed by the dual presentation around noon, and adjourn around 1pm. The facility is at 7333 West Jefferson Avenue; we’ll meet in the 4th floor meeting room to the left of the elevator.

Atmospheric Deposition in National Parks
The atmospheric deposition of pollutants containing nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury impacts resources in national parks in a variety of ways. In order to quantify these inputs and understand how they are changing over time, the NPS monitors wet deposition through the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). Sulfate and nitrate concentrations in precipitation have decreased dramatically in the Northeast and Midwest due to the Acid Rain Program of the Clean Air Act, however, ammonium concentrations are increasing in the Midwest and Intermountain Region. This includes Rocky Mountain National Park where the NPS is working with the State of Colorado, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Colorado Agriculture to decrease nitrogen deposition at the park. The NADP has recently moved from the University of Illinois to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and an update on the transition will be presented.

Ecological Responses to Air Pollution in National Parks
The National Park Service is tasked with preserving “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” As pollutants accumulate within a park, it increases the risk that ecosystem components or processes will be degraded. The threshold at which negative responses begin to occur is known as the critical load. This presentation will describe how critical loads are used to identify sensitive resources within parks and how it allows us to develop an active management strategy to preserve our sensitive resources. The focus will be on new analyses describing responses of herbaceous species richness, tree species, lichen communities, and aquatic resources to nitrogen and sulfur deposition across the country.  Comparing the critical load values with the deposition maps developed by the NADP allows us to see where exceedances occur and focus management efforts. In order for critical load science to be an effective management tool, national trends need to be verified at a local scale. Increasing data collaboration efforts within the NPS and among federal agencies and academics are making this possible.

Kristi H. Morris, Physical Scientist
Air Resources Division, National Park Service
Kristi Morris received a B.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado, Denver. She began work with the National Park Service (NPS) Air Resources Division as a student intern while working on her Master’s degree. In 1999, she went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Air Quality Branch and in 2004, she came back to the NPS as a Monitoring Specialist. She manages the NPS atmospheric deposition monitoring program, participates in national and regional scale monitoring networks, provides technical guidance on deposition issues, collaborates with colleagues to understand the impacts of deposition to park resources, works to improve estimates of total deposition, and performs data analysis to determine the status and trends of atmospheric deposition in national parks.

Mike Bell, Biologist
National Park Service, Air Resources Division
Mike Bell has a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Riverside studying biogeochemistry as it relates to nitrogen deposition in Joshua Tree National Park. His current job is to evaluate ecosystem effects of air pollution within our National Park System and surrounding federal lands. His focus is impacts due to nitrogen (eutrophication), sulfur (acidification), and ozone (physiological damage) pollution. He synthesizes data from federal agency and academic research to inform public policy around air pollution standards and provide guidance for active management to mitigate change. Prior to graduate school, Mike spent four years working in Yellowstone, Craters of the Moon, and Joshua Tree National Parks as an entry-level ecologist.

If you plan to attend this meeting, please  please RSVP to David Maxwell ([email protected]) by Thursday, May 17th.