National Wildlife Refuge System

Scenic Views at Salt Creek Wilderness Area Scenic Views at Salt Creek Wilderness Area Scenic Views at Salt Creek Wilderness Area Scenic Views at Salt Creek Wilderness Area

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Salt Creek Wilderness

Air Quality

What’s in the Air?

Most visitors expect clean air and good visibility in wildlife refuges. However, the Salt Creek Wilderness area is affected by regional industrial sources and biomass burning (mainly wildfires). These sources create air pollutants that can harm natural and scenic resources in the refuge or wilderness area such as surface waters, plants, soils, fish, birds, animals, and visibility.

How is air pollution affecting Salt Creek Wilderness?

  • Elevated levels of nitrogen and sulfur in air pollution form acid rain and acid fog, which can be deposited into refuge ecosystems, can cause changes to lakes, ponds, and streams.
  • Mercury, a toxic air contaminant, deposits onto refuge waters and lands and poses a threat to birds, salamanders, fish, other wildlife, and humans as well.
  • Fine particles of air pollution cause haze in the wilderness, affecting how well and how far visitors can see vistas and landmarks.
  • Other information on how air pollution affects Salt Creek Wilderness. more>>

What is the Fish & Wildlife Service doing about air pollution at the Wilderness Area ?

  • Monitoring fine particles and haze to assess status and trends. more>>
  • Evaluating the impacts of air pollution on wildlife refuges.
  • Working with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, and public interest groups to develop strategies to reduce air pollution and protect and restore refuge resources.
  • The FWS reviews plans for development that have a potential to increase air pollution in national wildlife refuges.
Last updated: November 8, 2012