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NOS-National Estuarine Research Reserve System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP)
browse graphic A key to conserving coastal waters and restoring estuarine habitats is information on how human activities and natural events can change ecosystems. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) has begun a large-scale monitoring effort for the purposes of contributing to effective coastal zone management. The System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) tracks short-term variability and long-term changes in coastal ecosystems represented in the reserve system. The initial phase of the reserve's System-wide Monitoring Program, known by its acronym SWMP (pronounced swamp), began in 1996. This phase focuses on monitoring a suite of water quality and atmospheric information over a range of space (local, regional, national) and time (minutes, hours, days, months, years). Future phases will monitor organisms and the changes in land use/habitats. The System-wide Monitoring Program is currently in operation at 25 reserves in the NERRS. The reserves represent nearly 1,000,000 acres of protected estuarine waters, wetlands and uplands form the five major coastal regions in the United States (West Coast, Northeast and Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic Coast, Southeast Coast and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea). Furthermore the NERRS represents almost every recognized climatic zone as well as more than 15 biogeographic zones within these major climatic zones.