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NYSERDA Long-Term Monitoring Assessment

Project Description:

This project is an assessment of long-term monitoring programs for sulfur, nitrogen, and mercury deposition and impacts in New York state, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The project focuses on monitoring of:

  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Streams and rivers
  • Lakes
  • Vegetation
  • Wildlife and aquatic biota

Air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury have had significant impacts on the quality of lakes, rivers, soils, biota, and tree health throughout the Northeastern US. Some areas of New York State are particularly susceptible to environmental degradation, such as the Adirondack and Catskill regions, which receive some of the highest rates of acid and mercury deposition in the country. Long-term monitoring efforts have produced data sets that have been extremely valuable for evaluating changes over time in air pollution loads and effects on the environment. It is important to evaluate long-term monitoring programs to ensure that these programs remain efficient and effective, and a comprehensive evaluation of state-wide long-term monitoring of acid and mercury deposition has never been undertaken in New York State.

We will undertake statistical analysis of select data sets to address the efficiency of monitoring efforts by identifying redundancies and gaps in monitoring efforts. After documenting data availability and identifying the policy needs for environmental monitoring, we can begin to analyze whether current monitoring practices are excessive (involving more effort than is justified by the results produced) and/or inadequate (producing results that are not sufficiently accurate or precise to meet policy needs). These analyses will include estimates of uncertainty in measurement and model parameters in order to most successfully answer key science and policy questions.

Products of the project include:

  • A list of research efforts and data sets documenting current monitoring efforts of all six topic areas
  • Analyses of relevant data sets in six topic areas to determine existing gaps and redundancies in monitoring efforts in NY state.