Methods Review and Evaluation

Review Process

The CMC team works with diverse monitoring groups across the region, many of which are already collecting water quality data! For any existing and active monitoring groups, we will review current methods manuals and quality assurance procedures in order to designate a tier and integrate the group’s data into the Chesapeake Data Explorer. During this review we compare a group’s monitoring protocols against the CMC approved methods using a dichotomous key rubric and provide feedback.

Feedback generally includes elements to be added in order for data to be included in the tiered framework or suggestions for data to move up a tier. Data that does not meet the minimum requirements can still be uploaded to the Data Explorer, but is marked as provisional and is not passed on to the Bay Program.

Once the program review is completed and all updates are made to the methods manual or quality assurance project plan, we will conduct any necessary water quality training with the program coordinator or monitors, and data entry into the Chesapeake Data Explorer can begin.

Any data collected prior to the review process can be entered into the Data Explorer as historical data and may be marked as provisional, provisional Tier 1 or provisional Tier 2 depending on the methods used.

Evaluation Criteria

These minimum requirements must be met in order for data to be assigned a tier level and entered into the Chesapeake Data Explorer:

  • Written study design (preferred, not required)
  • Written Methods Manual
  • Standard Field Data Sheet
  • Documented site locations with latitude and longitude coordinates
  • Collect samples at a specified sampling rate with an 80% completion rate

Monitoring programs are evaluated based on the following basic quality assurance procedures to establish a tier level:

  • Type of equipment used
  • Equipment inspection, maintenance and calibration procedures
  • Frequency of field and lab duplicates, replicates and blanks
  • Data quality assurance checks
  • Biennial certifications for monitors

PublicationsMethods Review Resources