Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality

This project consists of three long-term monitoring projects, as well as to obtain information about the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Water Quality Protection Program.


The purpose of the WQPP is to recommend priority corrective actions and compliance schedules addressing point and nonpoint sources of pollution to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Sanctuary. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act (November 16, 1990) also requires development of a comprehensive water quality monitoring and research program and was delivered to NOAA in May 1993. In addition to this Act, Congress passed the National Marine Sanctuaries Program Amendment Act of 1992. Section 2209 of this Act directs the EPA and the State of Florida to implement the WQPP.

The WQPP document specifically recommends the establishment of a regional database and data management system for recording the biological, physical, and chemical results from the comprehensive monitoring and research programs. Therefore, in July 1993, the EPA issued a cooperative agreement (#X994346-93-0) to the Florida Department of Natural Resources (now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Florida Marine Research Institute (now the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) for the development of a data management plan and prototype data management system. Since 1993, significant progress has been made in achieving the WQPP goals. This proposal will address only those aspects associated with the Data Management Project.

Data availability has become a major focus of the data management project. Research programs have been conducting water quality sampling since 1996 and have accrued a large amount of data, both 'raw' and synthesized. Two methods for access to WQPP data have been identified: EPA's STORET and Web-based mapping.

EPA's STORET is a keystone upon which to build a data entry and access tool for researchers, managers and the public that incorporates levels of security and includes embedded documentation from the organization level down to specific sampling results. STORET has evolved from a simple data repository for water-quality data to one that can accept biological, chemical, and physical data. With its latest developments, raw and synthesized data can be added to STORET. Data are loaded onto a local version of STORET and then uploaded to the STORET Data Warehouse on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Interested parties can then query WQPP data, as well as data collected by other scientists, from the STORET Web site.

One of the overall objectives of this effort is the ability to provide these data to resource managers. Web-based mapping applications will be updated to serve the data. The mapping capabilities of geo-referenced data on the Web, such as Google Earth, have increased greatly in the past few years. Web-based mapping allows users to view and query GIS and tabular data via a Web browser without having an expensive GIS on their computer.

The goal of this project is to provide a data integration system that takes into account the varying levels of data produced by individual monitoring projects and the needs of both managers and researchers. In order to accurately incorporate the different levels of scientific data produced, the data integration system is comprised of two components: data archive and data integration.

The data archive component encompasses both raw and synthesized data. These data sets will be stored in a centralized location in the original formats presented by the individual projects. No data manipulation including formatting, standardizing, or merging will be done to, or within, this component of the data integration system. Access to these data, in their original form and content, will be provided upon request and approval from the Sanctuary Manager to researchers, managers, and the general public.

The data integration component incorporates the synthesized data, both tabular and geospatial. These data are to be integrated for incorporation into a GIS to facilitate further analysis by researchers and managers. These data that are to be contained within the database integration system will be documented with project level metadata as well as attribute or parameter level metadata. Integration summaries will also be available within the integrated database.

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