Pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems has been a concern to society since the burning of fossil fuels began in the industrial revolution. In the past decade or so, this concern has been heightened by evidence that chemical transformation in the atmosphere of combustion by-products and subsequent long-range transport can cause environmental damage in remote areas. The extent of this damage and the rates of ecological recovery were largely unknown. "Acid rain" became the environmental issue of the 1980‘s. To address the increasing concerns of the public, in 1980 the Federal government initiated a 10-year interagency research program to develop information that could be used by the President and the Congress in making decisions for emission controls.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been an active participant in acid precipitation research. The Service provided support to a number of scientific conferences and forums, including the Action Seminar on Acid Precipitation held in Toronto, Canada, in 1979, an international symposium on Acidic Precipitation and Fishery Impacts in Northeastern North America in 1981, and a symposium on Acidic Precipitation and Atmospheric Deposition: A Western Perspective in 1982. These meetings as well as the growing involvement with the government‘s National Acidic Precipitation Assessment Program placed the Service in the lead in research on the biological effects of acidic deposition. Research projects have encompassed water chemistry, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, fish, and waterfowl. Water quality surveys have been conducted to help determine the extent of acid precipitation effects in the northeast, Middle Atlantic, and Rocky Mountain regions. In addition to lake and stream studies, research in wetland and some terrestrial habitats has also been conducted. Specific projects have addressed important sport species such as brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and striped bass (Morone saxatilis). Trace metal accumulation in fish has been investigated and a symposium sponsored on related work. U.S> Fish and Wildlife Service scientists serve as advisors and participants in research being conducted by industry, nonprofit groups, State and other Federal agencies. Researcher have worked closely with colleagues in Canada, England, Norway, Scotland, the Soviet Union, and Sweden to gain additional understanding of the problem.
In 1982, the Service implemented a mitigation research program to provide resource managers with information to help them protect sensitive ecosystems, and rehabilitation methods for resources already affected by acidification. An international workshop was convened to outline the research needs. Several conferences were organized to develop appropriate field and laboratory procedures. Scientists with the mitigation research program are evaluating the ecological effects of liming (addition of base material) surface waters and surrounding watershed to provide buffering against acidic inputs. Through long-term cooperative project with States and other organizations, investigations are studying possible abatement methods for regions most affected by acidic deposition.
To date, more than 200 reports the describe these studies have been published. These products include conference proceedings, journal articles, and in-house scientific publications. An education poster describing the effects of acid rain on aquatic ecosystems was developed and distributed to individuals, conservations and State organizations, and the public education system.
This annotated bibliography lists current publications by Service authors, cooperators, or contractors on acid rain and related quality. Entire are arranged alphabetically by author surname.
For further information about the research program, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acid Precipitation Section, National Fishery Research Center -- Leetown, Box 700, Kearneysville, WV 25430.