Long-term monitoring data can be a tremendous asset for coastal research and management, but processing and analyzing the data and extracting key findings can be challenging.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) has been collecting physical and biological data at estuaries across the country for many years. This webinar featured two projects that have been analyzing monitoring data from multiple sites to better understand trends in marsh surface elevation and vegetation in relation to sea levels. Project leads shared a few examples of their findings that can inform marsh resilience efforts, and provided tips for others considering SWMP synthesis projects.
The webinar wrapped with a discussion of opportunities and strategies for using SWMP data for future research and management applications.
Learn more about related projects
Kim Cressman from Grand Bay NERR provided an overview of her catalyst project: Is Marsh Surface Tracking Sea Level Change? Developing Tools and Visualizations for Sentinel Site Data, which developed data analysis and visualization tools for Surface Elevation Table (SET) data. SET measurements enable reserves to track changes in marsh surface height over time. The data are critical for monitoring marsh resilience in the face of rising seas, but SET data require specialized protocols for processing, quality checking and analyzing the data in a consistent way across sites.
David Burdick from the University of New Hampshire and Chris Peter from Great Bay NERR provided an overview of their project: Synthesizing Monitoring Data to Improve Coastal Wetland Management Across New England. This project analyzed Sentinel Site data from four New England reserves, which have individually been monitoring salt marsh vegetation and elevation changes since at least 2011. The team developed data packages linking vegetation change with surface elevation and other data, including output from an inundation tool. In addition to providing an initial summary of patterns, the project developed analysis protocols that can be utilized by other reserves and coastal managers nationwide.
The webinar also included comments and discussion from:
Chris Kinkade, NERRS National Research Coordinator, NOAA Office for Coastal Management
Dwayne Porter, Director, NERRS Centralized Data Management Office