The System-wide Monitoring Program tracks short-term variability and long-term changes in estuarine waters to understand how human activities and natural events can change ecosystems. It provides valuable long-term data on water quality and weather at frequent time intervals. The program is designed to enhance the value and vision of the reserves as a system of national reference sites. The program currently has three main components:
1. Abiotic Variables: The monitoring program currently measures pH, conductivity, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, water level and atmospheric conditions. In addition, the program collects monthly nutrient and chlorophyll a samples and monthly diel samples at one SWMP data logger station.
2. Biotic Variables: The reserve system has successfully incorporated submerged aquatic vegetation/emergent vegetation monitoring within 18 reserves. Other aspects that could be incorporated include monitoring biodiversity of nekton and plankton communities.
3. Landuse, Habitat Mapping and Change: The main objective of this element will be to map watershed and land habitat types to track human influences upon the Reserve and its associated watershed.