Shenandoah National Park, which protects more than 200,000 acres in the mountains of Virginia, is famous for its recreation opportunities, scenic vistas, and wildlife viewing. The park is also home to one of the longest continuous monitoring studies in the National Park System, a research initiative interrupted by the government shutdown. No sampling has been undertaken in more than three weeks - the longest data gap in the entire project.
The Shenandoah Watershed Study began to examine the effects of acid rain in the Mid-Atlantic forests, and since expanded to include additional research questions about biogeochemical cycles, native trout populations, and more. In addition to establishing baseline data for the park, the research has been used to quantify effects of air pollution on natural systems both in public policy debates as well as court cases. According to the University of Virginia Magazine (the institution running the study), 14 streams are monitored within the national park, including eight quarterly and five weekly.