NERR - Research
Research directly related to the management of the ACE reserve's resources is actively encouraged and is a high priority. More than 30 research and monitoring projects (including cumulative environmental impacts, contaminant assessments, population assessments and environmental stress indicators) have been conducted by government agencies, academic institutions and private organizations in or adjacent to the ACE Basin NERR. However, the primary focus of the reserve research program is to conduct long-term monitoring projects that provide spatial and temporal information about the physical, chemical and biological conditions in the ACE Basin.
Systemwide Monitoring Program
The purpose of the monitoring program at ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve (ACE Basin NERR) is to document both long-term changes and short-term variability in the watershed. This is the same goal at all of the 26 NERR sites around the country and forms the basis of the NERR System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). SWMP (SWMP; pronounced "swamp") provides a long-term data set of selected water quality and meteorological parameters collected at NERR sites nationwide. Nationally, this data set has been effective in addressing questions posed by both coastal decision makers and scientists on "no discharge zones" for boaters, impacts of urban runoff, and impacts of various agricultural practices.
The Systemwide Monitoring Program is a phased monitoring program that focuses on three different ecosystem characteristics:
- Phase 1 – Abiotic Parameters, including: atmospheric conditions and water quality (nutrients, salinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.);
- Phase 2 – Biological Monitoring, including: biodiversity, habitat and population characteristics; and
- Phase 3 – Watershed and Land Use Classifications, including: changes in human uses and land cover types.