The National Estuarine Research Reserve System established the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) in 1995 to conduct long-term monitoring of water quality, weather, coastal habitat, and biological communities using consistent methods. The monitoring program is critical for reserve coastal management and research. However, the full value of the program is limited by the lack of time, technical expertise, and computational resources reserves have for analyzing large, complex data sets.
This project addressed these constraints by producing tools, graphical support, and training for research staff from the Mid-Atlantic reserves to better utilize reserve monitoring data. The project team specifically focused on producing tools to understand water quality trends, which is a reserve management priority. Through workshops and statistical application development, this project increased capacity to distill monitoring data into a format that resource managers can more readily use.