SYSTEM-WIDE MONITORING PROGRAM (SWMP – pronounced “swamp”): All 28 Reserves carry out SWMP, using the same protocols. Programs include weather, water quality, habitat mapping, salt marsh vegetation, and submerged aquatic vegetation. (See Research Sites for locations of permanent stations). These data are available from the Centralized Data Management Office:

  • Weather: The Reserve weather station measures temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, precipitation, sunlight and atmospheric conditions.
  • Water quality: The Reserve uses four automated dataloggers to monitor physical and chemical variables at 15-minute intervals. Measures of water quality include temperature, water depth, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. The Reserve periodically takes samples at one automated datalogger to measure nutrients (ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, ortho-phosphate, and chlorophyll a).

Click here for an analysis of 16 years of trends derived from the system wide monitoring program, by Research Coordinator, Megan Tyrrell in 2017.  She examined the water quality data to determine if, for example, critical temperature thresholds affecting organism growth or survival have been crossed during crucial times of the year. Additionally, she presented some meteorological data analyses that examined whether the increase in extreme precipitation events have led to salinity drops or turbidity spikes near the salt marsh water quality monitoring station.