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Two national commissions, the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, identified many concerns regarding our oceans but also left unresolved questions about  implementation and action. Directors of Renewable Natural Resources Foundation decided this consortium of professional, scientific, and educational organizations needed to enthusiastically support the extraordinary work of both commissions.

RNRF's "Congress on Building Capacity for Coastal Solutions" brought together a select group of professionals from its member organizations and leaders from government, industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations. Delegates met December 5-6, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

The specific goals of the congress were to consider findings and recommendations of the commissions, and to identify high priority activities for early action. A copy of the resulting report Building Capacity for Coastal Solutions is available for download.

One such recommendation was the need to develop standards to allow for easy integration and sharing of data from a variety of sources. Such efforts already are underway. However, delegates made the following recommendation: "To avoid duplication of existing efforts, a dynamic database of key activities underway in data standards, inventories, classifications, and frameworks should be implemented." This page features a database of such activities.

The projects reported cover a broad range of fields and include many types of data. We have attempted to place them in general categories for your convenience.

[coasts] [ecosystem assessments] [fisheries] [general data] [grants] [habitat restoration] [human health] [mapping] [marine assessments]  [research results] [water quality]


Project Summary:The Nation's Coasts:  A Vision for the Future
The goal of this project is to consider long-term solutions to living and working in our coastal regions.  The Center's concerns go beyond helping communities become resilient to the risks of natural disasters (the natural outfall of recent hurricane seasons).  This initiative will focus on the larger issue of defining integrated approaches to coastal management that consider the balance required to protect the needs of individuals, businesses, and governments while also protecting the entire ecosystem.  The product will be a set of recommendations based on a national symposium and a series of regional workshops where experts in a wide variety of relevant disciplines can share their experience, offer their advice, and help shape a new coastal management dynamic. This is an effort to integrate the best available knowledge into a comprehensive set of recommendations to ensure coastal development is not only resilient in the face of increasing coastal risks, but also exists in concert with the needs and values of the coastal environment that supports it.
Paricipants:The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environmen
Contacts:Christophe A. G. Tulou
Interim Project Manager
The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 735 South
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 737-6307
Project Summary:Coastal Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change Effects
Augmenting capacity of Pacific Island countries and territories to assess mangrove vulnerability to relative sea level rise and other climate change effects, and manage mangrove responses to these forces.   
Participants:University of Tasmania, UNEP Regional Seas Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council
Contact:Eric Gilman
Programme Manager
University of Tasmania
current address: 2718 Napuaa Place
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 988-1976
Project Summary:

EMAP National Coastal Assessment
The National Coastal Assessment describes the ecological and environmental conditions in U.S. coastal waters. It summarizes the condition of ecological resources in the estuaries of the United States and highlights several exemplary Federal, State, Tribal, and local programs that assess coastal ecological and water quality conditions.  It represents a coordinated effort among EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and coastal States.

Data are collected from a variety of federal, state, and local sources, most notably EPA's National Coastal Assessment Program, which works in partnership with states, tribes, and territories to sample the Nation's estuaries. These data sets include over 50,000 samples taken from 1997 to 2000 at over 1,500 randomly selected sites in all continental U.S. seacoasts and Puerto Rico.

Participants:Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and coastal states.
Contact:J. Kevin Summers, Michael E. McDonald
Stephen Hale
EMAP Information Management Contact
USEPA Atlantic Ecology Division
27 Tarzwell Drive
Narragansett, RI 02882-1197
(401) 782-3048
Project Summary: California State University Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research and Education (CICORE)
CICORE is an applied coastal research center dedicated to producing nationally relevant solutions to the many challenges facing our marine and estuarine environments. CICORE utilizes the unique distribution of the CSU campuses to create a coastal observing network spanning the entire California coastline and focusing on the critically impacted region from 100 meters deep up to and onto the shore, including estuaries, wetlands, and other critical coastal habitats. CICORE uses three core technologies, high resolution bathymetry, in-situ monitoring, and high resolution hyperspectral imaging, to create powerful digital information products. Near real time and archived oceanographic and meteorological data are publicly available at the website (or through links found at the website). NDBC-based QC procedures are applied to archived in-situ data and FDGC compliant metadata are added to file headers as xml. Bathymetry data and maps are available as GeoTiffs and/or shapefiles. Hyperspectral data can be viewed with an Interactive Map Sever or accessed online for image processing.
Participants:Romberg-Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University; Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Contact:Toby Garfield
CICORE Coordinator
Romberg-Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University/Moss Landing Marine Labs
3152 Paradise Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 338-3713


Project Summary:Baltimore Ecosystem Study
National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research Site focused on urban watersheds in Baltimore, MD.   
Participants:Institute for Ecosystem Studies
Contact:Steward Pickett, lead principal investigator
Peter Groffman, co-principal investigator working on watershed studies
Senior Scientist
Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Box AB
65 Sharon Turnpike
Millbrook, NY 12545
(845) 677-7600, ext 128                                                                        
Project Summary:  

Geospatial Assessment of Marine Ecosystems (GAME)
The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) is coordinating a pilot project called Geospatial Assessment of Marine Ecosystems (GAME). Funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), this project aims to assemble existing data and information pertaining to the coastal ocean of Florida and the adjacent waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and South Atlantic Bight.

The importance of this project is that it represents the first step in a major, long-term state effort to implement new procedures of ecosystem-based management and governance.

The aim of the Phase I, Information Survey, is to detect/locate, collate and synthesize existing data and information to assess the marine habitats and structure. The project will assemble, for the first time, the many sources of physical, geomorphological, biological, chemical, and ecological data in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) format to identify ecoregions.

The five year project began in 2006.

Participants:Florida Institute of Oceanography
Contact:Dave Reed
GAME GIS Data Coordinator
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fish & WIldlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
727-896-8626 ext. 3076
Project Summary:Mapping mangrove forest height, biomass and productivity
Use remote sensing to map mangrove wetlands in 3D, estimate productivity of the ecosystem and export of nutrients and carbon to Ocean. The main datasets are from radar (SRTM, AIRSAR, ALOS), lidar (airborne and ICEsat) and optical sensors (Landsat and MODIS).  We use field data and ecological models to estimate landscape scale productivity.  The main sites are along the Caribbean and Central American coasts.
Participants:NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Contact:Marc Simard
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
MS 300-319D
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
(818) 354-6972


Project Summary:Fisheries Information Network (FIN)
In the 1980s and 1990s, state and federal fishery managers in the Southeast Region (Region) agreed there was an urgent and compelling need for coordinated collection of comprehensive data on the Region's marine commercial and recreational fisheries resources, and recommendations were made through a series of workshops and meetings. These recommendations of the GSMFC and ASMFC led to the development of the Fisheries Information Network (FIN) which is comprised two distinct programs: Commercial Fisheries Information Network (ComFIN) and Recreational Fisheries Information Network in the Southeastern United States [RecFIN(SE)].  The purpose of this state-federal cooperative program is to collect, manage, and disseminate statistical data and information on the commercial and recreational fisheries of the Region. The programs are the result of combined efforts of program partners which include states and territories of the Region, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils, and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Participants:Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, states and territories of the Region, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils.
Contact:Dave Donaldson
Program Manager
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
P.O. Box 726
Ocean Springs, MS 39566-0726
(228) 275-5912
Project Summary:  From Sea to Table
Blue Ocean Institute's From Sea to Table program helps seafood lovers better understand their relationship with the ocean through the seafood they eat because not all seafood is equal. Blue Ocean's seafood program engages in intensive fisheries research to evaluate farmed and wild fish and shellfish from around the world using a systematic, objective, and transparent methodology. Blue Ocean staff evaluate abundance, fisheries management efforts, fishing/farming methods, and effects of fishing or farming methods on habitat and other wildlife. The resulting product is a guide and comprehensive database on seafood.
Participants:Blue Ocean Institute
Contact:Mercedes Lee
Blue Ocean Institute
250 Lawrence Hill Rd.
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
(631) 367-0063


Project Summary: 

Global Change Master Directory--a Directory to Earth Science Data and Services
The mission of the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) is to enable the scientific community to discover and access Earth science data and services through distributed, integrated information technology systems. The GCMD offers authoring tools to achieve this mission, which conform to international standards. Tools are available to write, directly submit, and directly update metadata records.

The GCMD offers descriptions of Earth science data sets using a specified set of information - known as the Directory Interchange Format (DIF). The GCMD's philosophy for using the DIF is that the specific set of attributes, the content metadata, is the critical set needed for a user to determine if the data sets returned from a database query are those that define viable data sets for the user's needs. Using a specific set of fields also helps to "normalize" the search for data sets through the use of several alternative search engines.

Gulf States Marine Fisheries (GSMFC) partners with the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (FAR) node to provide metadata on the Fisheries Independent Program Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) metadata.

Participants:Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, states and territories of the Region, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils
Contact:Dave Donaldson
Program Manager
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
P.O. Box 726
Ocean Springs, MS 39566-0726
(228) 275-5912                              
Project Summary: 

The National Environmental Information Exchange Network
The Exchange Network is a partnership among states, tribes, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that is revolutionizing the exchange of environmental information. Partners on the Exchange Network share data efficiently and securely over the Internet. This new approach is providing real-time access to higher quality data while saving time, resources, and money for partner states, tribes, and territories.

Partners on the Exchange Network establish and maintain servers called Network Nodes that are securely connected to the Internet. A Node is a partner's single point of presence on the Exchange Network and serves as the exchange point for all data requests and submissions. Network Nodes automatically listen for and submit requests for data from other information trading partners and then deliver or publish the data based upon pre-described methods. Nodes are secure and authenticate all requests for data to ensure they are coming from an authorized trading partner.

The power of the Network lies in the technology that the Nodes use to transmit data among partners. Extensible Markup Language, or XML, is an open standard that describes data through simple but rigid syntax rules. It provides a standards base from which anyone may exchange data regardless of computer system or platform. XML also takes data from disparate data sets and formulates a common meaning between them. In short, XML overcomes system incompatibility by translating information into a common data structure and format. With XML, existing data management systems remain in place and the data is transformed as it enters and exits each system without changing the meaning or appearance of the data. For more information on XML, see this brief paper on XML Basics.

The Exchange Network works because partners agree to use a common vocabulary to define data exchanges. Incorporating data standards developed by the Environmental Data Standards Council, trading partners develop XML schemas and Data Exchange Templates (DETs) that standardize and identify the way information is shared, so partners can obtain and understand the data they need when they need it.

Participants:State environmental agencies (through Environmental Council of the States) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Contact:Molly O'Neill
State Director
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 445
Washington, DC 20001
United States
(202) 624-3660



Project Summary:California State Water Board Watershed and Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Grant Program Management and Reporting System
The State Water Resources Control Board uses an internal database system to record specific project information for tracking and reporting purposes.  This system is used by the Division of Financial Assistance as a management tool to track grants dating back to 2000 and loans dating back to 1991 totaling over $1,000,000,000.  These watershed projects are classified under the following nine parameters: purpose of the project; water body land uses addressed; site, source and other conditions; implementation; TMDLs; NPS management measure implementation; sampling and monitoring; sampling and monitoring amount.  Over four hundred descriptors are used to answer the nine different classification parameters.
Participants:California State Water Resources Control Board

Mark Magtoto, WRC Engineer (technical questions)
State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Financial Assistance
(916) 341-5481

Evan Powers (general information)
Environmental Scientist
State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Financial Assistance
1001 I St. 15th floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 650-0292 


Project Summary:   National Estuaries Restoration Inventory
The National Estuaries Restoration Inventory (NERI) has been created to track estuary habitat restoration projects across the nation. The purpose of the inventory is to provide information on restoration projects in order to improve restoration methods, as well as to track acreage restored toward the million-acre goal of the Estuary Restoration Act.
Participants:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Contact:Marti McGuire
Marine Habitat Resources Specialist
NOAA Restoration Center
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
(301) 713-0174
Project Summary:

Restoration Monitoring
Science-Based Restoration Monitoring of Coastal Habitats, a two-volume manual, provides technical assistance, outlines necessary steps, and provides useful tools for the development and implementation of sound scientific monitoring of coastal restoration efforts. Information found in these volumes can help practitioners develop monitoring programs that can determine if a restoration project is on track and gauge how well a restoration site is functioning. Methods and tools are also presented that will help practitioners coordinate monitoring programs and share results with other restoration practitioners, leading to increases in the consistency and success of future restoration projects. In addition to post-implementation monitoring, information in these volumes can also be used to help users evaluate the status of specific coastal habitats before restoration projects are implemented.

This manual should not be considered a restoration monitoring "cookbook." It does not provide templates of monitoring plans for specific habitats. Rather, monitoring approaches should be tailored to different habitats and different restoration project goals. The interdependence of site-specific factors causes habitat types to vary in physical and biological structure within and between regions and geographic locations (Kustler and Kentula 1990). Thus, one method may be appropriate for monitoring juvenile fishes in Great Lakes coastal marsh, but, due to differences in hydrodynamics, be inappropriate for use in a marsh on the Atlantic coast.

Participants:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Contact:Teresa A. McTigue, Ph.D.
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment
1305 East-West Highway
Room 8409
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
(301) 713-3028 x141


Project Summary:

NSF NIEHS Oceans and Human Health Centers
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health, are funding four joint Centers for Oceans and Human Health (COHH). The centers are the following:

Pacific Northwest Center for Human Health and Ocean Sciences
The center at the University of Washington, directed by Elaine Faustman and Ginger Armbrust, will study toxic algae and how toxic domoic acid produced by algae accumulates in Puget Sound shellfish. Researchers will explore the ways in which this toxin affects human health through the consumption of contaminated seafood, especially in sensitive populations such as children.

Pacific Research Center for Marine Biomedicine
The Pacific Research Center for Marine Biomedicine (PRCMB) at the University of Hawaii, led by Edward Laws and Richard Yanagihara, is conducting interdisciplinary research on harmful algal blooms, water- and vector-borne diseases, and marine-derived pharmaceuticals and probes. Knowledge gained from this research will advance national health and lead to improved strategies to reduce the burden of human diseases resulting from acute and chronic exposures to risks in the ocean environment.

Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health
The center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, directed by John Stegeman and Dennis McGillicuddy, will study populations of the toxic plankton Alexandrium in the Gulf of Maine and the relationship of its various genotypes to its toxicity, as well as the hydrodynamic and biological controls on these populations and how they affect shellfish toxicity. The center will also study human pathogens in Mt. Hope Bay.

Oceans and Human Health Center
The center at the University of Miami, directed by Lora Fleming and Sharon Smith, will study hazardous algal blooms in subtropical ecosystems and the development of probes to identify new species and toxins. The genomics of algae will be studied to see if different genotypes are more successful during algal blooms. The center will also investigate microbes in coastal waters and their effects on human health in waters heavily used for recreational purposes.

Participants:National Science Foundation and National Institute of Environmental Health Services

Dr. Don Rice (NSF)

Dr. Fred Tyson (NIEHS) 


Project Summary:  Digital Mapping, Analysis, Modeling, and Application
Land cover mapping, analysis, ecological modeling and application (transfer of data and technology for analysis to local decision makers) of Gulf Coast Katrina impact area.  This project re-establishes a land cover map (classified satellite images) at a moderate and high resolution scale, produces digital maps for use by local people in rebuilding the communities.  Expertise for the project comes from a collaboration of a national conservation organization, a major image analysis firm and a regional planning firm. Moderate scale satellite data will be classified to National Land Cover Data standard set by the USGS.  This data will be used to model ecological functions of the land in 50 counties and will be used to provide a new data set for the Southern Fire Risk model now being used by the states in the south east.  High resolution satellite images will be produced for 200 square miles of high impact and highly populated areas.
Participants:American Forests
Contact:American Forests
Gary Moll
Vice President
American Forests
P.O. Box 2000
Washington, DC 20013
(202) 737-1944 ext 220
Project Summary:

Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps
A main objective of spill response in the United States, after protecting human life, is to reduce environmental consequences of spills and cleanup efforts. To do this, we identify vulnerable coastal locations before a spill happens, to establish cleanup strategies. NOAA OR&R researchers, with colleagues in State and Federal governments, produced Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps. ESI maps serve as quick references for oil and chemical spill responders and coastal zone managers. They contain three kinds of information:

  1. Shorelines are ranked based on their physical and biological character, then color-coded to indicate their sensitivity to oiling.
  2. Sensitive biological resources, such as seabird colonies and marine mammal hauling grounds, are depicted by shaded polygons and symbol icons to convey their location and extent on the maps.
  3. ESI maps also show sensitive human-use resources, such as water intakes, marinas, and swimming beaches.

Project Status:

Starting in 1995 with the outer coast of California, ESI project members began using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to produce updated ESI maps that are higher in quality and can be more readily reproduced. Using a GIS also has made it possible to distribute ESI information in a variety of digital formats (see ESI Format Types, at right), as well as paper maps. Each of NOAA's ESI mapping efforts is a cooperative effort with the primary State response agency, other State and Federal agencies, and industry.

Participants:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Project Summary:National Land Cover Database
The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 1992 was the first consistent, nationwide land cover database.  NLCD was sponsored and produced by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium and has been the major source of nationwide land cover information within the Federal government. The MRLC Consortium was originally formed in 1993, to meet the needs of four Federal agencies (U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), for Landsat 5 imagery and land cover information. The main product of this consortium was the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD 1992), a seamless landcover dataset derived from circa 1992 Landsat imagery. The continuing need for current Landsat-based land cover data within the Federal government resulted in expanding the MRLC Consortium into a second stage effort called MRLC 2001.
Participants:In addition to the USGS, EPA, NOAA and USFS, the MRLC 2001 Consortium also includes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Park Service (NPS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Contact:USGS Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program
USGS EROS Data Center
Jonathan Smith
Acting Program Coordinator
USGS Geography Discipline
12201 Sunrise vally DR
519 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
(703) 648-4516


Project Summary: NMFS Marine Managed Area Inventory
Working with the National Marine Protected Area the project manager is responsible for determining which sites, under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service, meet the existing criteria for MMA's.  The project manager then works with relevant partners to research and populate a detailed database (80 + fields) of these areas to improve management decisions.
Participants:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service
Contact:Carli Bertrand
Marine Policy Analyst
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 713-4300 x 123
Project Summary:

Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), a part of the Census of Marine Life
The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) is the information component of the Census of Marine Life (CoML), a growing network of more than 1000 researchers in 73 nations engaged in a 10-year initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans - past, present, and future.  In additon to data from CoML, OBIS consists of 12 Regional OBIS Nodes distributed throughout the world.  

OBIS is a web-based provider of global geo-referenced information on marine species. We contain expert species level and habitat level databases and provide a variety of spatial query tools for visualizing relationships among species and their environment. Users of OBIS, including researchers, students, and environmental managers, gain a dynamic view of the multi-dimensional oceanic world. You can explore this constantly expanding and developing window into the distribution of life in the ocean through the OBIS Portal. OBIS is developing international standards for marine biological data.

Participants:Census of Marine Life
Contact:J. Frederick Grassle
Director and Professor
Institute of Marine &Coastal Sciences
Rutgers University
71 Dudley Rd.
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8521
(732) 932-6555, ext 509  


Project Summary: Great Lakes St. Lawrence Research Inventory
The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate up-to-date information about research projects in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region. The Research Inventory allows Great Lakes researchers to identify similar studies, network, share experiences and increase efficiency. It enables managers to examine the impact of research, the interrelationships between research disciplines, the adequacy of research related to government agreements and to link research to policy questions.

In the absence of resources to convert databases to meet a particular DB metadata standard, managers should consider ways to link and share data via xml code. For an example, see  The IJC's Research Inventory is in the process of linking with the Smithsonian AIRD and other databases using this approach.
Participants:International Joint Commission's Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
PContact:Mark J. Burrows
Council Secretary
IJC, Great Lakes Regional Office
8th Floor
100 Ouellette Ave.
Windsor, Ontario N9A 6T3
(519) 257-6709   


Project Summary:Ground Water Database of Standards, Criteria, Guidelines, etc.
We maintain a database of ground water industry related standards, criteria, guidelines, etc. at our Web site for our members.  The actual standards are not there, but a listing of standards applied, by category, as well as identification of the issuing body with contact information.
Participants:National Ground Water Association
Contact:Kevin McCray
Executive Director
National Ground Water Association
601 Dempsey Road
Westerville, OH 43081
(800) 551-7379
Project Summary:

Water Quality Data Elements
The Water Quality Data Elements (WQDEs), developed by the Methods Board and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC), are intended to address the following questions:

Similarity questions ("Do their conclusions support mine?"); unrelated questions for which their collection was not intended; and future questions that have yet to be asked

Common concerns in using another's data are:
Are their data of similar quality as my own? Were their data collected in a comparable way? Were their data based on the same type of samples?

These concerns can be summed up as:
"How can we tell if water quality datasets are comparable and can therefore be combined for a given use?"

WQDEs are lists of the minimum elements or metadata that give a data user information about the data so that they can make an informed decision as to the quality of those data, and the comparability of those data for their question or purpose. WQDEs should be readily available to other interested parties, along with the data, to facilitate information sharing and data exchange. Lists are divided into modules specific to different types of water quality monitoring analyses (e.g., chemical, microbiological, toxicological, biological).

The proposed lists are not a set of required information. They are intended as a means to help data collectors and database managers more effectively characterize their data and thereby, promote the use of those data by others.

Participants:National Water Quality Monitoring Council's Methods Board
Contact:Charles Spooner
Co-Chair, National WQ Monitoring Council
EPA/Washington D.C.
EPA Headquarters
Office of Water
Washington, DC
(202) 566-1174 
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