Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Evaluation & Protection of Adirondack Ecosystems - Impacts of Acid & Mercury Deposition on Watershed(ST10661-1)

SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Considerable attention has been focused on the Adirondacks in the past three decades due to the relatively high rates of acidic deposition, the associated impairment of water quality in the region and the recent potential improvement of these systems. Still, many aspects to these changes are not well understood. There has been increasing concern about the long-term depletion of nutrient cations in Adirondack soils, which has been directly linked with forest health of major tree species. Considerable attention has also been focused on mercury contamination in this region and the transport of mercury through ecosystems. The long-term effects of atmospheric pollutants are influenced by changes in temperature and precipitation that will affect pollutant and nutrient fluxes in forest ecosystems. A better understanding of how climatic and atmospheric deposition influence ecosystems would aid in understanding the implications of policy on environmental impacts.

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Project Description

For this project, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and its partners will integrate the measurements of atmospheric deposition and climatological factors into evaluations of watershed responses at Huntington Forrest. This project will include a complete evaluation of overall hydrological and biogeochemical responses to atmospheric pollutants. The project is divided into four components, each with its own objective. While much of the data to be collected as part of this effort will be useful to each of these components and for a variety studies, the specific objectives of this project include: 1) evaluation of the sources of internal watershed S contributions to drainage water sulfate losses; 2) examination of the relative importance of climatic factors versus atmospheric N loading from atmospheric pollutants in affecting NO3- loss from forested watersheds; 3) evaluation of the relationship of climatic influences in the context of changes in the atmospheric inputs of S, N, and mercury (Hg); and 4) understanding the linkages between mercury deposition and climate that will affect the transport of mercury species through variations in hydrologic flow paths and the net production of methyl mercury (MeHg) within forested watersheds.


The mercury deposition monitoring station in the Adirondacks will broaden the understanding of mercury deposition across New York State. This station will provide speciated-mercury wet deposition data using the same methods and protocols used for the wet deposition mercury monitoring station in the Catskills. The mercury deposition trend analysis will help provide an assessment of the mercury emission reduction efforts currently planned and underway.

Project Results


SUNY College of Environmental Science an
One Forestry Dr Attn: Cashier - 102 Bray Hall
Syracuse, NY 13210

Principle Investigator

Myron Mitchell

Universities Involved


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: ST10661-1

Last Updated: 9/10/2012