Processed Surface Elevation Table (SET) Data from Five Reserves

Data Resource
November 2020

Surface Elevation Tables (SETs) are precise measurements of the height of a marsh surface and can be used to track whether a marsh is sinking or gaining elevation relative to sea level. Most sites within the network of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves have been measuring SETs for several years. A 2018 catalyst project developed tools for working with SET data, including a series of computer codes -  R scripts  - for processing, quality checking, analyzing and visualizing these complex datasets.

About these datasets

Five reserves agreed to allow their previously collected Surface Elevation Table data, along with metadata, reports, and figures, to be publicly available. This dataset contains a directory for each reserve, with the inputs, outputs, and all relevant code developed during the project. Please see the Workflow Guide for details on directory contents, structure, and files. In addition, the R scripts are available on GitHub and summary reports are available for all the participating reserves.

Available SET data

  • Apalachicola Bay NERR, Florida (APA): 2012-2018
  • Chesapeake Bay NERR, Maryland (CBM): 2010-2016
  • Delaware NERR (DEL): 2004-2016
  • Grand Bay NERR, Mississippi (GND): 2012-2016
  • South Slough NERR, Oregon (SOS): 2011-2018

Data access

Data folders for each participating reserve have been archived with the NERRS Centralized Data Management Office and may be requested via the request form on this page (available soon). After completing the data request form, you will receive an email with a link to download the available files from all five reserves. Each zipped folder contains:

  • Data documentation (as Word and PDF files)
  • Raw and processed SET data files (csv and Excel)
  • R scripts that were used to process and analyze the SET data (.R and .Rmd files)
  • Output figures to visualize the data (png)
  • Outreach and technical reports summarzing results for that reserve (Word files)


Questions about this dataset can be directed to: Kim Cressman, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve,