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Tracking & Mitigating Nitrigen Deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park

October 13, 2009
[Source: Jessica Davis, Ag Woman & Risk, Issue 3, Fall 2009] 
Sheep Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sheep Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Colorado State University and Institute for Livestock and the Environment researchers Dr. Jay Ham and Dr. Jessica Davis are involved in a statewide effort to track and reduce ammonia emissions. Agriculture is  estimated as the largest source of atmospheric ammonia, and in  Colorado the Department of Public Health and the Environment  estimates that 40% of controllable emissions come from livestock.  When ammonia emissions combine with sulfuric and nitric acid in the  atmosphere, it can be detrimental to human health and can cause severe environmental degradation.

Rocky Mountain National Park has been identified as one area suffering the negative impacts of nitrogen deposition from ammonia. These impacts include reduced visibility, shifts in plant populations, acidic soil, and eutrophication of lakes and streams. In response to these impacts, the Rocky Mountain National Park Agricultural Team was formed, and the Ag Team developed a strategy to meet this environmental challenge. The central component of the strategy is to identify ammonia best management practices (BMPs) and test them in the field for their efficacy and cost. There are several types of BMPs for livestock producers which involve considerations such as nutrition, production site, manure storage and treatment, and land application of manure. The RMNP Ag Team is currently identifying specific BMPs for livestock producers in Colorado, and you can follow the team’s progress and results at: 

On The Air, a podcast about air quality in National Parks

On The Air, a podcast about air quality in National Parks


 For podcasts, information, and more about air quality in National Parks, visit 


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