Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

A Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) is a document that outlines how a group plans on maintaining quality assurance throughout their monitoring process. Data users can rely on data that is generated from monitoring groups with an approved QAPP. The CMC QAPPs have been reviewed and approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program. Groups starting a new monitoring program can follow CMC developed protocols to fall under our QAPPs.

Methods Manuals

CMC Methods Manuals were developed to be user friendly versions of the standard operating procedures. They are modular in fashion, arranged by parameter being collected and have clear instructions for before going in the field, data collection in the field, and after coming back.

Study Design

The Study Design manual walks groups through the study design process for creating a monitoring program. The template provides an outline for the workshops but can be tailored to each group’s specific needs.

Chesapeake Data Explorer

The Chesapeake Data Explorer User’s Manual and tutorial video’s were developed for both monitors and program coordinators. It has clear instructions on the various aspects of the database that both monitors and coordinators will need. The Data Explorer flyer is a one page overview of the database, benefits and how it is used. You can find other helpful resources on the Data Explorer resources page.

Data Interpretation Manual

This manual hopes to provide an overview and examples of data interpretation and science communication for nontraditional monitoring groups. This manual was developed to support the wide variety of monitoring groups throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the communication needs that they have. The manual is intended to support the work of the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative and it is meant to introduce useful ways monitoring groups can integrate data they have collected, and then help them to synthesize that data into clear products such as report cards and other visual reports, for personal understanding and public consumption.

Field Datasheets

The CMC field datasheets are available for use as needed by any monitoring group collecting non-tidal, tidal, or benthic data. These documents are intended to act as a template and can be tailored to each monitoring group’s needs. Monitoring groups are encouraged and welcome to use their own datasheets and are not required to use these templates.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedures and is a technical document that details the steps taken for each monitoring protocol from what is needed before going into the field, to what is necessary to maintain quality assurance.

Indicator Facts Sheets

These fact sheets offer a quick explanation of why you might be interested in measuring a parameter and what that parameter can tell you about your water quality. Use these to help you consider what you want to monitor or share with your community members who want to better understand your monitoring program.

Prioritization Report

The CMC Team facilitated opportunities to listen to diverse water quality stakeholders throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in order to assess spatial gaps and data needs. This report summarizes the findings of the data needs assessment and identifies avenues for nontraditional data to meet some of the needs.

Tiered Framework

The tiered framework was developed to help data users easily and quickly filter data and its potential uses without having to delve into the protocols and QA processes of each monitoring group. Tiers apply to parameters collected and not entire programs. The tiers are determined based off of monitoring protocols, monitoring frequency, monitoring equipment, sample processing, and quality assurance.

Other CMC Resources

Additional resources that the CMC team has created.


The CMC team has presented at various conferences and forums throughout the watershed. Here are a few presentations.