Mapping critical loads of nitrogen deposition for aquatic ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains, USA

Environmental Pollution
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Spatially explicit estimates of critical loads of nitrogen (N) deposition (CLNdep) for nutrient enrichment in aquatic ecosystems were developed for the Rocky Mountains, USA, using a geostatistical approach. The lowest CLNdep estimates (<1.5 ± 1 kg N ha−1 yr−1) occurred in high-elevation basins with steep slopes, sparse vegetation, and abundance of exposed bedrock and talus. These areas often correspond with areas of high N deposition (>3 kg N ha−1 yr−1), resulting in CLNdep exceedances ≥1.5 ± 1 kg N ha−1 yr−1. CLNdep and CLNdep exceedances exhibit substantial spatial variability related to basin characteristics and are highly sensitive to the NO3− threshold at which ecological effects are thought to occur. Based on an NO3− threshold of 0.5 μmol L−1, N deposition exceeds CLNdep in 21 ± 8% of the study area; thus, broad areas of the Rocky Mountains may be impacted by excess N deposition, with greatest impacts at high elevations.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mapping critical loads of nitrogen deposition for aquatic ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains, USA
Series title Environmental Pollution
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2012.03.019
Volume 166
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Environmental Pollution
First page 125
Last page 135
Country United States
Other Geospatial Rocky Mountains