A Coastal Water Quality Metadata Database for the Southeast U.S.A.
Sheldon, Wade M.
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This paper describes the development and initial implementation of a Coastal Water Quality Monitoring Metadata Database for the Southeast region (from NC to FL), which was developed with funding from the National Park Service. The database was designed to store detailed information on water quality monitoring programs operated by federal, state and municipal agencies, as well as by research institutions, including monitoring station locations, measured parameters, program contacts, and links to program web pages and data downloads. Water quality parameter records are classified into parameter groups and categories to support searches at varying levels of specificity, and are matched to US EPA STORET codes when possible for interoperability with federal databases. Fields for defining sample media, units and methodology are also provided for additional context. A prototype web portal, web services and mapping services were developed to support search and display of database contents, and to support leveraging by other database and portal efforts. Information from 41 monitoring programs in the South Atlantic was initially loaded into the database in 2009, including metadata on 16,182 stations at which 1093 distinct parameters are measured; the number of programs is currently being expanded. This database provides an ongoing inventory of monitoring activities for the southeast region and will help to facilitate identification of data gaps or under- or over-sampled areas. On a broader scale, the project’s water quality metadata database and web portal have timely relevance to the broad community of coastal managers, researchers, planners and constituents as they make significant progress in leveraging and focusing regional associations and partnerships.