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The Adirondack region of northern New York State is located directly downwind from major midwest coal-burning sources. Power generating facilities in the Midwest emit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are the major precursors of acid rain causing the acidification of many Adirondack lakes and ponds. Certain geologic and soil characteristics including elevated terrain, thin shallow soils and impermeable bedrock combined with high amounts of rainfall make this region one of the most sensitive to acidification in North America. Consequently, this region is a focal point for numerous scientific research efforts designed to identify the processes involved in acidification and to evaluate its effect on aquatic resources as well as the effectiveness of emissions controls.
The results of research conducted by the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) from 1984-1987 indicated that nearly twenty five percent of the waters had pH values of 5.0 or less and that forty eight percent of the waters had little or no buffering capacity ANC≤40µeq/L) or were extremely sensitive to further acidification. In 1992, following the enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the ALSC initiated a long-term chemical monitoring project involving 52 waters representative of the different classes of waters found in the Adirondack region.
This Long-Term Monitoring Program is currently being sponsored by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), NYSDEC and the USEPA. This unique network of support allows this critical long-term record to continue uninterrupted.