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MAINE: Native brook trout have ceased reproducing in all small lakes over 2,000 feet in altitude. The pH in these lakes is 5 (pHs of less than 5.6 are hazardous to aquatic life). The headwater tributaries of at least five Atlantic salmon rivers are sufficiently acid to jeopardize the lives of young fish.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: "The usual picture of acid-pickled lakes is beginning to emerge," says Ronald Towne, chief water pollution biologist of the state's Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission. "We have lakes with low pH, low alkalinities, no fish or missing year-classes, high aluminum." So far, Towne has found that seven high-altitude lakes he has been able to reach by car are "bad," but he hasn't been able to get funds for a helicopter needed to sample remote waters.
VERMONT: Several lakes in the Brooks Wilderness Area of the Green Mountain National Forest have a pH of 4, and two tributaries of the West River, Ball Mountain Brook and Wardsboro Brook have been acidified.
MASSACHUSETTS: Acid precipitation is pelting the state—this summer, the pH of a rainstorm in Lawrence was 2.9—and Massachusetts' fisheries and drinking-water supplies are both threatened by disaster. The Quabbin Reservoir, which supplies the Boston area, often registers surface water pH values in the 5s and 4s, according to Alan VanArsdale, head of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering's Acid Deposition Assessment Program. Other bodies of water that have lost their buffering capacity include the headwaters of the Westfield, Deerfield and Swift rivers; the Wachusett Reservoir, Atkins Reservoir, North Watuppa Pond, the reservoir for Fall River; a series of high-elevation (1,200 to 2,000 feet) ponds and reservoirs in the Berkshires; and the drinking-water ponds in Plymouth County. VanArsdale isn't optimistic about getting the EPA funds needed to investigate or improve the situation. "They're not going beyond step one to start funding activities in the Northeast," he says. "They're waiting till we scream bloody murder."
RHODE ISLAND: Officials are keeping a watch on the Scituate Reservoir system, which serves as the drinking-water supply for nearly half of Rhode Island. The total alkalinity of the reservoir is low, ranging from three to seven parts per million. The average pH of rain this summer was 3.5.
CONNECTICUT: A dozen lakes have a total alkalinity of less than five parts per million, but Charles Fredette Of the state's Department of Environmental Protection terms acid precipitation a "long-range" concern. "We don't have high-altitude lakes like New York or New Hampshire," says Fredette, "and we have relatively good buffering capacity."
NEW YORK: It has been documented that 212 Adirondacks lakes and ponds totaling some 10,460 acres are acidified and incapable of supporting fish life. What is infrequently pointed out is that this figure is derived from tests made on only a third of the lakes and ponds. From the same limited sample, another 256 lakes and ponds totaling 63,000 acres were judged to be in danger of losing their fish. The headwaters of the Hudson have been acidified in part. Other sensitive areas in the state include the Tug Hill Plateau to the west of the Adirondacks, the Catskill Mountains, the Shawangunk Mountains, the Hudson Highlands, the Palisades area and Long Island.
NEW JERSEY: Research is just getting under way, but there are "some waters in the northwestern part of the state that show some signs of acidification," says Dr. Dean Arnold of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to A.H. Johnson of the University of Pennsylvania, headwaters of streams in the Pine Barrens show signs of acidification from precipitation.
PENNSYLVANIA: "At present many of our mountain streams can no longer support rainbow trout, and some of our first- and second-order streams can't even support the more tolerant brown trout," says Fred Johnson, Water Resources Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. "There are also streams that we can't stock before the trout season begins because of the acidity of the snowmelt. The situation is very serious." A portion of Pennsylvania extending through the central and northern sections of the state routinely has the most acidic rainfall of any large area in the country. The average in the summer is pH 3.8.
WEST VIRGINIA: A dozen trout streams are too acid to support fish. Moreover, 150 miles of the state's total of 550 miles of native brook-trout streams are considered "threatened," says Don Gasper of the Department of Natural Resources. "The average pH of this 150 miles of streams is 5.5," he says. "In the springtime it dips down to 4.8 or 5 and then climbs up to 6 in September. If the stream pH were to decline a half a pH unit, there would be no more fish. West Virginia is a stream state, and we're talking about losing one-quarter of our heritage," concludes Gasper. "What's coming down is very, very bad. We're really very worried." In addition, stocked streams are also being affected. Gasper says that about 150 miles of these are too acid in the spring to be stocked.