Target loads of atmospheric sulfur and nitrogen deposition for protection of acid sensitive aquatic resources in the Adirondack Mountains, New York Public Deposited

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  • The dynamic watershed acid-base chemistry model of acidification of groundwater in catchments (MAGIC) was used to calculate target loads (TLs) of atmospheric sulfur and nitrogen deposition expected to be protective of aquatic health in lakes in the Adirondack ecoregion of New York. The TLs were calculated for two future dates (2050 and 2100) and three levels of protection against lake acidification (acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of 0, 20, and 50 μeq L⁻¹). Regional sulfur and nitrogen deposition estimates were combined with TLs to calculate exceedances. Target load results, and associated exceedances, were extrapolated to the regional population of Adirondack lakes. About 30% of Adirondack lakes had simulated TL of sulfur deposition less than 50 meq m⁻² yr to protect lake ANC to 50 μeq L⁻¹. About 600 Adirondack lakes receive ambient sulfur deposition that is above this TL, in some cases by more than a factor of 2. Some critical criteria threshold values were simulated to be unobtainable in some lakes even if sulfur deposition was to be decreased to zero and held at zero until the specified endpoint year. We also summarize important lessons for the use of target loads in the management of acid-impacted aquatic ecosystems, such as those in North America, Europe, and Asia.
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  • Sullivan, T. J., B. J. Cosby, C. T. Driscoll, T. C. McDonnell, A. T. Herlihy, and D. A. Burns (2012), Target loads of atmospheric sulfur and nitrogen deposition for protection of acid sensitive aquatic resources in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, Water Resources Research, 48, W01547, doi:10.1029/2011WR011171.
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