System Wide Monitoring Program
A primary focus of the NIWB NERR Research and Monitoring Program is participation in the National Estuarine Research Reserve’s System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). SWMP is a national initiative among all NERRs, developed and initiated in 1995, that is designed to develop quantitative measurements of short-term variability and long-term changes in the water quality, biotic diversity, and land-use ⁄ land -cover characteristics of estuaries and estuarine ecosystems for the purposes of contributing to effective coastal zone management.
Long-term monitoring conducted within the national network of NERR sites is intended to improve our fundamental understanding of the temporal and spatial dynamics of estuarine ecological processes. It provides the baseline data necessary to evaluate changes in estuarine ecosystems in response to natural perturbations and anthropogenic disturbance. Continued operation of the long-term monitoring efforts within the NERRs network further provides valuable data for assessments and models on the cumulative effects of environmental stressors in estuarine ecosystems at the local, regional and national scales.
Current Components of SWMP
The NIWB NERR has four long-term monitoring sites established as part of SWMP: