In the Chesapeake Data Explorer, datasets are classified into 3 tiers to help data users easily and quickly filter data and its potential uses. If data do not fit within the three tiers, they can be classified as provisional, provisional tier 1, and provisional tier 2 to indicate the methods are comparable, but not exact. Data users need to examine the study design (if available), quality assurance project plan (QAPP), standard operating procedures (SOP), and equipment specifications of provisional-associated data to determine whether the data collected are suitable for the desired end use.
The tiers are determined based off of monitoring protocols, frequency, equipment, sample processing, and quality assurance, and apply to individual parameters not entire programs.
Minimum requirements in order for data to be assigned a tier level:
|Tiers||Justification||Potential Data Use|
|Provisional||Program does not meet the minimum requirements.||Track groups collecting water quality monitoring data and to upgrade their methods and quality assurance processes into the Tiered Framework|
|Provisional Tier 1||Historic dataset that meets most of the QA procedures for tier 1 but may be missing an aspect because monitoring occurred prior to the CMC QAPP approval.||Tier 1 uses|
|Tier 1||Program meets minimum requirements and uses equipment that meet Tier 1 quality assurance standards.||Education, Environmental Health Screening, Targeting of Management Actions, Baseline Stream Health Assessment|
|Provisional Tier 2||Historic dataset that meets most of the QA procedures for tier 2 but may be missing an aspect because monitoring occurred prior to the CMC QAPP approval.||Tier 2 uses|
|Tier 2||Program meets minimum requirements and uses equipment that meet Tier 2 quality assurance standards.||Tier 1 uses and CMC Report Cards|
|Tier 3||Program completes an audit process and is approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Data Integrity Workgroup.||Tier 1 and 2 uses and Chesapeake Bay Watershed trends and assessments to help inform policy and management decisions|