Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Sulfur and Nitrogen Deposition Restore Acid-Sensitive Resources in the Adirondacks :Critical Loads of Sulfur and Nitrogen Deposition Restore Acid-Sensitive Resources in the Adirondack (ST10657-1)

E&S Environmental Chemistry Inc.


Ecosystem damage from air pollution in the Adirondacks has been substantial. Efforts to characterize and quantify damages, and to examine potential improvements have focused on surface waters, soils, and forests. Additionally, biological dose-response functions for zooplankton and fish for Adirondack lakes have been developed. These data can inform the identification of chemical indicators for defining and calculating critical loads (CL). Understanding the spatial and temporal patterns of biological recovery, as deposition continues to decline, would be helpful for Resource Managers and policy makers who need to know the extent to which current and projected future emissions reductions will lead to ecosystem recovery and the deposition levels that will be required to promote greater (or perhaps full) recovery. Regional knowledge of CL, the rate of recovery, and the characteristics of the lake-watersheds that are recovering, or that are projected to recover, is critical to development of sound management policies.

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Project Description

E&S Environmental Chemistry, Inc. and its partners will undertake a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional effort to establish CL for sulfur and nitrogen deposition in the Adirondacks. The project will build upon a recently completed NYSERDA project to model the acid-base response of 709 Adirondack lakes in response to acidic deposition. The major focus of the project is to calculate model-based estimates of CL to help guide protection of currently undamaged, and recovery of currently damaged, Adirondack ecosystems. Linkages between biological response functions and chemical criteria values for lake water, forest soil, and foliar chemistry will be explored. Critical load results will be simulated for approximately 100 watersheds and the results extrapolated to the population of acid-sensitive lake watersheds and mapped across the region.


Results of this project will determine the portions of the Adirondacks where acidified lakes and forest soils can recover, and the long-term sustained deposition loads that would be required to affect such recovery. It will also identify the types of watersheds and portions of the region for which recovery is unlikely, regardless of the extent of emission reductions. Finally, it will provide critical information for determining what areas might require additional remediation efforts beyond deposition reductions.

Project Results


E&S Environmental Chemistry Inc.
P.O. Box 609
Corvallis, OR 97339

Principle Investigator

Timothy Sullivan

Universities Involved

Syracuse University


Project Type:

Environmental Monitoring & Research

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Lampman


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10657-1

Last Updated: 12/28/2010