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Predicting the vulnerability of streams to episodic acidification and potential effects on aquatic biota in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5259

Prepared in cooperation with National Park Service
By:
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Abstract

Acidic deposition is one of the most serious environmental problems affecting Shenandoah National Park in north-central Virginia. The park is the third most contaminated park in the National Park System because of the deposition of acid rain. Acid rain affects headwater streams in the park by temporarily reducing the acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC) of the water, a process termed episodic acidification. In turn, the increase in acidic components in streamwater can have deleterious effects on the aquatic biota.

Although acidic deposition to the park is relatively uniform across its land area, the water-quality response of streamwater during rain events varies substantially. This response is a function of the underlying geology and topographic attributes of watersheds.

Geologic and topographic data for the park's 231 watersheds are readily available; however, long-term (years and tens of years) measurements of streamwater ANC and accompanying discharge are not and would be prohibitively expensive to collect. Modeled predictions of the vulnerability of the park's streams to episodic acidification are an alternative to long-term water-quality monitoring. These predictions can aid park officials in making management decisions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Predicting the vulnerability of streams to episodic acidification and potential effects on aquatic biota in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2005-5259
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Richmond, VA
Contributing office(s):
Virginia Water Science Center
Description:
vii, 51 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Virginia
Other Geospatial:
Shenandoah National Park