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Virgin Islands National Park Air Quality Information

Overview

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Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park (NP), renowned throughout the world for its breathtaking beauty, covers approximately 3/5 of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for over 800 species of plants. To these amazing natural resources, add relics from the Pre-Colombian Amerindian civilization, remains of the Danish colonial sugar plantations, and reminders of African slavery and the subsistence culture that followed during the 100 years after emancipation - all part of the rich cultural history of the park and its island home. The park, a Class I air quality area, was authorized in August 1956, and was designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Virgin Islands NP currently encompasses 14,689 acres, of which 5,650 acres are water.

A National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) wet deposition monitor has been operating at Virgin Islands NP since 1998 (site #VI01). The site has not been in operation long enough to perform a trend analysis on the data.

A Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNet) dry deposition site was installed at Virgin Islands NP (site #VII423) in 1998. The site has not been operating long enough to detect trends in dry deposition.

Ozone has been continuously monitored at Virgin Islands NP since 1998 (site #780030001). The data indicate no exceedances of the 1-hr human health-based primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), or any calculated exceedances of the new 8-hr primary NAAQS.

The ozone sensitivity of plant species in Virgin Islands NP is unknown.

As part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network, visual air quality in Virgin Islands NP has been monitored using an aerosol sampler (2000 through the present) and a nephelometer (1998 through the present). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Regional Haze regulations require improving visibility in Class I air quality areas on both the best visibility and the worst visibility days. Trend data are not yet available for this site.

Dust from the Sahara Desert frequently contributes to visibility impairment at Virgin Islands NP. During these Saharan dust events, visibility impairment is significant. While it has not been studied, there is concern that there may also be nutrient or disease impacts associated with dust deposition in the marine environment.

updated on 11/01/2005  I   http://nature.nps.gov/air/permits/aris/VIIS/index.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster