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The Rocky Mountain National Park Initiative

Posted by | February 21, 2021

Associated with: The National Park Service, The US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Project Summary:

The Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Air Quality Initiative was formed in 2004 to study and recommend strategies related to air quality. The main focus has been atmospheric nitrogen deposition, which impacts park ecosystems.  Other major air quality issues are ozone and regional haze. Participating agencies include the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8, and the National Park Service (NPS).

Two-thirds of the park is near or above treeline, creating fragile high-elevation ecosystems that park managers are responsible for protecting. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition has become better understood over time, and scientific research and monitoring have documented changes to ecosystems in the park. The park’s unique resources are at risk from nitrogen deposition.

Using a collaborative approach, the participating agencies developed and are implementing the Nitrogen Deposition Reduction Plan that focuses on voluntary approaches instead of a new regulatory program to reduce nitrogen deposition.