The sensitivity of high-elevation lakes to acidic deposition was evaluated in five national parks of the Rocky Mountains based on statistical relations between lake acid-neutralizing capacity concentrations and basin characteristics. Acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC) of 151 lakes sampled during synoptic surveys and basin-characteristic information derived from geographic information system (GIS) data sets were used to calibrate the statistical models. The explanatory basin variables that were considered included topographic parameters, bedrock type, and vegetation type. A logistic regression model was developed, and modeling results were cross-validated through lake sampling during fall 2004 at 58 lakes. The model was applied to lake basins greater than 1 ha in area in Glacier National Park (n = 244 lakes), Grand Teton National Park (n = 106 lakes), Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (n = 11 lakes), Rocky Mountain National Park (n = 114 lakes), and Yellowstone National Park (n = 294 lakes). Lakes that had a high probability of having an ANC concentration 3000 m, with 80% of the catchment bedrock having low buffering capacity. The modeling results indicate that the most sensitive lakes are located in Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This technique for evaluating the lake sensitivity to acidic deposition is useful for designing long-term monitoring plans and is potentially transferable to other remote mountain areas of the United States and the world.
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