National Estuarine Research Reserve System
background background
search icon
Home Site Map Contact Us
space backgroud
  Home > Research
 Monitoring & Research
sky background
System-Wide Monitoring Program
System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP)

Research in the Reserve System enables the system to address specific coastal management needs, and to guide national, regional, and local research efforts that promote the protection and conservation of estuarine habitats. As an integral part of the system's research program, the System-Wide Management Program (SWMP, pronounced "swamp") provides researchers, resource managers, educators, and other coastal decision makers with standardized, quantitative measures to determine how reserve conditions are changing in both the short-term and the long-term.

The NERRS established a System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) in 1995 with a primary mission to develop quantitative measurements of short-term variability and long-term changes in the water quality, biological systems, and land-use / land-cover characteristics of estuaries and estuarine ecosystems for the purposes of informing effective coastal zone management. The history of SWMP describes the origin of the program. The newly revised "NERRS System-wide Monitoring Program Plan 2011" (SWMP Plan), describes SWMP and its role in supporting the NERRS mission and strategic goals, details the existing capacity in SWMP, and outlines an implementation and development plan for the program.

SWMP currently has three major components that focus on: (1) abiotic indicators of water quality and weather; (2) biological monitoring; and (3) watershed, habitat, and land use mapping. Abiotic parameters include nutrients, temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and in some cases, contaminants. Biological monitoring includes measures of biodiversity, habitat, and population characteristics. Watershed and land use classifications provide information on types of land use by humans and changes in land cover associated with each reserve. By using standard operating procedures for each component across all 28 reserves, SWMP data help establish the NERRS as a system of national reference sites, as well a network of sentinel sites for detecting and understanding the effects of climate change in coastal regions."

SWMP data for each reserve are managed by the Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO), which is managed through a grant to the University of South Carolina and is housed at the North Inlet-Winyah Bay Reserve in South Carolina. The CDMO also provides quality assurance and quality control for the reserve system, and is responsible for maintaining and updating the Reserve System's standard operating procedures so that all SWMP data are collected in the same way at each reserve. A Data Management Committee, made up of system researchers and representatives from the management, education, and stewardship sectors, provides guidance to the CDMO.

Planning documents have been developed that establish the mission, vision, and goals of the System-wide Monitoring Program. Syntheses of SWMP data have also been conducted several times over the past years, and these documents provide a foundation for other studies.

Last Updated on: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
    For more information contact
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | National Ocean Service | Web Site Owner: Ocean and Coastal Resource Management | Site Map | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | NERRS Webmaster | NERRS Staff Only | ERD Staff Only

Home Side Map Contact Us