Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Evaluate Recovery of Adirondack Ecosystems:An evaluation of the recovery from acidification(ST4917-1)

SUNY Research Foundation


Atmospheric deposition has resulted in the acidification of surface waters in the Adirondack region. Investigations at the Huntington Forest/Arbutus Lake Watershed, in the center of the Adirondack region, have played a critical role in evaluating the role of air pollutants on Adirondack ecosystems as well as in national and international comparisons of the role of air pollutants on ecosystems. It is the only site in the Adirondacks that has the history, instrumentation and background for making comprehensive analyses that include atmospheric, chemical, hydrological and biotic components.

Map Error

Project Description

Information will be updated as data are obtained on wet- only deposition inputs of pollutant solutes at the NADP/NTN Monitoring Site NY20. An analysis of temporal trends in both atmospheric wet inputs and losses through drainage waters will be provided. Dry deposition of N and S shall be determined by evaluating data collected previously by NOAA (AIRMoN), and currently by EPA (CASTNET), at site HWF187. Base line monitoring of discharge (15 minute readings) and (weekly) chemistry measurements at the outlet and inlet of Arbutus Lake will be continued. Throughfall amount and chemistry, soil water chemistry, groundwater stage height and chemistry, as well as stream discharge and chemistry will be measured weekly during the snow free season (May-August), and monthly during the winter period (September-April) for two subcatchments. Temporal trends in air chemistry, dry deposition, wet deposition and surface water chemistry will be evaluated. Mass balances of major elements combined with analyses of elemental and solute interactions shall be used to evaluate the response of the Arbutus Watershed to changes in atmospheric pollutants and climate, including potential future scenarios related to proposed policies.


Results of this study, and the continued monitoring of water chemistry and hydrology at the Huntington Forest/Arbutus Watershed, will provide critical information to be used in national and regional assessments of forest and aquatic resources in the Adirondacks, and how various policy options will affect this region.

Project Results

Investigations at the Huntington Forest have done extensive evaluations of the effects of “acid rain” and climate change on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. This is the only research site in the Adirondacks that includes a complete suite of field instruments for monitoring air quality, climatic effects and hydrological responses for both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. A combination of atmospheric and mercury deposition measurements have been linked with hydrological, climatological and biogeochemical measurements. Deposition measurements documented improvements in precipitation chemistry and watershed responses due to decreases in sulfur emission, but the contribution the atmospheric deposition of biologically available nitrogen continues to be elevated. The net retention or loss of this added nitrogen has been shown to be linked to climatic conditions as well as landscape features including topography, soil conditions and the composition of the forest vegetation. Results from intensive and extensive analyses within and among sites have been incorporated into modeling tools to provide information that is relevant to policy decisions with respect to the regulation of atmospheric emissions that influence air quality and climate in the United States


SUNY Research Foundation
Empire State Plaza Concourse Level Rm 106
Albany, NY 12224

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: ST4917-1

Last Updated: 12/28/2010