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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Use of Stream Chemistry for Monitoring Acidic Deposition Effects in the Adirondack Region of New York


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 3, p. 1002-1009
    Received: Feb 11, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): glawrenc@usgs.gov
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  1. Gregory B. Lawrence *a,
  2. Bahram Momenb and
  3. Karen M. Royc
  1. a U.S. Geological Survey, 425 Jordan Road, Troy, NY 12180
    b 1103 H.J. Patterson Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    c New York State Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, Route 86, Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977


Acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC) and pH were measured weekly from October 1991 through September 2001 in three streams in the western Adirondack Mountain region of New York to identify trends in stream chemistry that might be related to changes in acidic deposition. A decreasing trend in atmospheric deposition of SO4 2− was observed within the region over the 10-yr period, although most of the decrease occurred between 1991 and 1995. Both ANC and pH were inversely related to flow in all streams; therefore, a trend analysis was conducted on (i) the measured values of ANC and pH and (ii) the residuals of the concentration–discharge relations. In Buck Creek, ANC increased significantly (p < 0.05) over the 10 yr, but the residuals of ANC showed no trend (p > 0.10). In Bald Mountain Brook, ANC and residuals of ANC increased significantly (p < 0.01), although the trend was diatonic—a distinct decrease from 1991 to 1996 was followed by a distinct increase from 1996 to 2001. In Fly Pond outlet, ANC and residuals of ANC increased over the study period (p < 0.01), although the trend of the residuals resulted largely from an abrupt increase in 1997. In general, the trends observed in the three streams are similar to results presented for Adirondack lakes in a previous study, and are consistent with the declining trend in atmospheric deposition for this region, although the observed trends in ANC and pH in streams could not be directly attributed to the trends in acidic deposition.

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