Assessment of lake sensitivity to acidic deposition in national parks of the Rocky Mountains

Ecological Applications
By: , and 



The sensitivity of high-elevation lakes to acidic deposition was evaluated in five national parks of the Rocky Mountains based on statistical relations between lake acid-neutralizing capacity concentrations and basin characteristics. Acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC) of 151 lakes sampled during synoptic surveys and basin-characteristic information derived from geographic information system (GIS) data sets were used to calibrate the statistical models. The explanatory basin variables that were considered included topographic parameters, bedrock type, and vegetation type. A logistic regression model was developed, and modeling results were cross-validated through lake sampling during fall 2004 at 58 lakes. The model was applied to lake basins greater than 1 ha in area in Glacier National Park (n = 244 lakes), Grand Teton National Park (n = 106 lakes), Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (n = 11 lakes), Rocky Mountain National Park (n = 114 lakes), and Yellowstone National Park (n = 294 lakes). Lakes that had a high probability of having an ANC concentration <100 μeq/L, and therefore sensitive to acidic deposition, are located in basins with elevations >3000 m, with <30% of the catchment having northeast aspect and with >80% of the catchment bedrock having low buffering capacity. The modeling results indicate that the most sensitive lakes are located in Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This technique for evaluating the lake sensitivity to acidic deposition is useful for designing long-term monitoring plans and is potentially transferable to other remote mountain areas of the United States and the world.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessment of lake sensitivity to acidic deposition in national parks of the Rocky Mountains
Series title Ecological Applications
DOI 10.1890/07-1091.1
Volume 19
Issue 4
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Publisher location Ithaca, NY
Contributing office(s) Water Resources of the United States
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Ecological Applications
First page 961
Last page 973
Country United States
State Colorado;Idaho;Montana;Wyoming
Other Geospatial Glacier National Park;Grand Teton National Park;Great Sand Dunes National Park And Preserve;Rocky Mountain National Park;Yellowstone National Park
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