Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Weather and Water Quality

Healthy waters provide a home where fish and crab flourish, and a lively place where families enjoy themselves by swimming and boating. The decline of water quality (due to excess nutrients, sediments and other pollutants) is one of the main issues affecting the waters and natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.  CBNERR-MD monitors weather and water quality at Otter Point Creek, Jug Bay, and Monie Bay through the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP).

The System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) allows each of 28 Reserves located around the country to study how natural events and human activities affect the health and functioning of coastal ecosystems such as marshes and aquatic grasses. By following national protocols, CBNERR-MD collects and provides, through SWMP, national standardized data on weather and water quality. This data can then be used to determine trends, analyze environmental change, or to assess coastal management issues of regional or local concern such as poor water quality.

Sampling – Where?

As part of SWMP, CBNERR-MD permanently deployed two meteorological stations at Jug Bay and Otter Point Creek, and five automated instruments or dataloggers (also called continuous monitoring stations – CONMONs). Three of the five CONMON stations are located at Jug Bay, one at Otter Point Creek, and one at Monie Bay. All data from meteorological and CONMON stations is reported at 15 minute intervals.

Please click below on the site maps for Otter Point Creek, Jug Bay,
Monie Bay and Additonal Water Quality Data to learn more about
our weather and continuous water quality monitoring.

Clickable Map Links to Otter Point Creek Water Quality Data Links to Jug Bay Water Quality Data Links to Monie Bay Water Quality Data Links to Additional Water Quality Data

Sampling – What?

WEATHER parameters CONMON parameters
Air temperature Water temperature
Relative humidity Specific conductivity
Barometric pressure Salinity
Wind speed and direction Dissolved oxygen
Total photosynthetically active radiation Water depth
Precipitation pH
Total solar radiation Turbidity
  Chlorophyll fluorescence

Additional Nutrient and Pigment (Chl a) Data:

Monthly, nutrient and pigment (Chl a) data are collected at all CONMON water quality stations. Parameters measured include: Orthophosphate, ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, nitrite + nitrate, and Chlorophyll a. Nutrient and Chl a samples are processed at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory following standard protocols.

Monitoring nutrients is important in the Chesapeake Bay region because of the positive relationship that exists between the amount of nutrients in the water and primary production and the development of algal blooms. This relationship is one of the primary drivers of water quality in the region.

Where to Find the Data!

CBNERR-MD weather and water quality data can be downloaded from:

  1. NERRS Centralized Data Management Office website:
  2. Maryland Department of Natural Resources “Eyes on the Bay” website:

Sampling marsh vegetation at Jug Bay (Credit: L. Carroll) 

Our Science

Explore and learn about the interesting research and long-term monitoring projects we are conducting at Otter Point Creek (Bush River), Jug Bay (Patuxent River), and Monie Bay (eastern shore). Our projects range from water quality monitoring to marsh plants to monitoring secretive marsh birds and fish.​​​​​


Links to Our Data 

Our Data

We invite you to use our data to support research, modeling, management, and/or education goals. Our data could serve as baseline information to start a new research project, to look for interesting trends, to support modeling efforts, or to complement a project already in progress. We hope our data can help you to make a difference!