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Scenic views and native vegetation images from parks within Sonoran Desert Network.

Air Quality at Saguaro National Park

What’s in the Air?

Map of Saguaro National Park in Arizona
Saguaro NP, Arizona

Most visitors expect clean air and good visibility in parks. Saguaro National Park (NP), Arizona, a desert and mountainous landscape that houses North America's largest cacti—the giant saguaro—enjoys relatively good air quality. However, upwind urban and industrial sources, including the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas, can degrade air quality. Pollution sources in Mexico can also affect the park. These airborne pollutants can harm the park's natural and scenic resources such as soils, surface waters, vegetation, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Saguaro National Park?

  • Fine particles of air pollution sometimes cause haze in the park, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks. more »
  • Estimated ground-level ozone concentrations are high enough to induce plant injury under certain environmental conditions, and ozone-sensitive vegetation is found in the park. more »
  • Nitrogen deposition may favor invasive, weedy plants such as buffelgrass that are known to displace native vegetation in arid environments, including the saguaro cacti. more »

What is the National Park Service doing about air pollution at the park?

  • Monitoring fine particles and haze to assess status and trends in air quality. more  »
  • Working with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups, such as the Western Regional Air Partnership, to develop strategies to reduce air pollution and protect and restore park resources. The NPS also reviews plans for development that may increase air pollution in national parks. more »
  • Establishing a Green Team to reduce energy consumption and conserve resources at the park, and applying to become a Climate Friendly Park. more »

Featured Content

Impacts icon

Pollutants including nitrogen, sulfur, ozone, and fine particles affect resources such as soils and scenic vistas. Find out how on our Saguaro NP Air Pollution Impacts web page.

Studies and Monitoring icon

Studies and monitoring help the NPS understand the environmental impacts of air pollution. Access air quality data and see what is happening with Studies and Monitoring at Saguaro NP.

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Last Updated: January 26, 2015