About Us

The Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative (CMC) is a group of leading organizations that provide technical, programmatic, and outreach support in order to integrate volunteer-based water quality and macroinvertebrate monitoring data into the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership.

Currently there are many sources of data, including data collected by volunteers, local governments and NGOs, that are not being used to track Bay health. Data contribution by this network of volunteer sources will provide valuable information to add to a comprehensive understanding of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the health of the bay, and the success of restoration efforts.

Our Vision

Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative envisions a Chesapeake community where all data of known quality are used to inform watershed management decisions and restoration efforts.

Our Mission

Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative works with diverse partners to collect and share new and existing water quality data. Through this collaboration, we aim to develop a comprehensive understanding of Chesapeake Bay Watershed health.

Today, the CMC is working with groups throughout the Bay watershed to become part of our monitoring effort and integrate water quality and benthic macroinvertebrate data into our open access Chesapeake Data Explorer.


The Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative was formed in 2015 through a six-year cooperative agreement between the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in order to allow the Bay Program to leverage volunteer and non-traditional monitoring efforts to augment data sets to better understand the health of the Bay watershed.

The CMC is supported by four partner organizations that act as the CMC service providers:

  • The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Izaak Walton League of America
  • Dickinson College’s Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring
  • University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

During the first two years of the project, the partner organizations came together to lay the groundwork for a watershed-wide monitoring program by creating methods manuals and quality assurance project plans, taking inventory of existing monitoring programs throughout the watershed, and developing a tiered framework for determining data use.