Water Quality

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Dissolved Oxygen

Mid-Channel Water Clarity

Chlorophyll a

Chemical Contaminants

Metadata 

Chesapeake Bay Program Indicator Framework

Reporting Level Indicators

Indicator and Data Survey

A.  Category/Name/Source/Contact

(1) Category of Indicator

___ Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health

___ Restoration and Protection Efforts

___ Watershed Health

_x__ Bay Health

(2) Name of Indicator: Water Quality Top Level Index

(3) Description of Dataset used to calculate percent of goal achieved:  

•The Water Quality Top Level Index incorporates scores for the following indicators:

Dissolved Oxygen Standards Attainment

Mid-Channel Water Clarity

Chlorophyll a

Chemical Contaminants

Percent achievement values for each indicator assessed in the Water Quality Index category were averaged to calculate the top level index score.

For what purpose(s) were the data collected? (e.g., tracking, research, or long-term monitoring.) Tracking progress towards a goal and long-term monitoring. The most up-to-date monitoring data gathered by Bay Program partners are used to provide a scientifically based assessment of the Bay’s water quality.

Which parameters were measured directly? Percent goal achievement values for the component indicators are based on directly measured, monitored information. Which were obtained by calculation?  Percent achievement values for each indicator assessed in the category were averaged to create the index score.  Each indicator was assigned equal weight.

(4) Source(s) of Data: Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators.

Dissolved Oxygen Standards Attainment: www.chesapeakebay.net/status_dissolvedoxygen.aspx 

Mid-Channel Water Clarity: www.chesapeakebay.net/status_clarity.aspx 

Chlorophyll a: www.chesapeakebay.net/status_chlorophyla.aspx 

Chemical Contaminants: www.chesapeakebay.net/status_chemicalcontaminants.aspx 

Is the complete data set accessible, including metadata, data-dictionaries and embedded definitions?  If yes, please indicate where complete dataset can be obtained.   Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators.

(5) Custodian of Source Data (and Indicator, if different): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators (urls listed in item 4, above).

(6) CBPO Contact:Nita Sylvester (sylvester.nita@epa.gov)

B.  Communication Questions

(complete either part 1, 2, or 3)

1.  Restoration and Protection Efforts indicators only

(7a) How much has been completed since 1985 (or baseline year)?  How much has been completed since 2000?

(8a) How much was done last year?

(9a) What is the current status in relation to a goal?

(10a) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11a) Why is it important to report this information?

(12a) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator? (Detail and diagnostic indicators can be spatially-specific, parameter-specific, temporally-specific information, etc.)

2.  Bay Health or Watershed Health indicators only

(7b) What is the long-term trend?  (Since start of data collection)  N/A – data for all component indicators has only been collected for four years.

(8b) What is the short-term trend? (2006-2009)  There was no significant change (from 23.6 percent to 23.8 percent of goal achieved).

(9b) What is the current status in relation to a goal?  The Bay’s water quality is measured with 4 indicators.  Quantitative restoration goals have been set for these indicators. When all of the goals are reached, it should mean restored water quality. 

In 2009, water quality was again very poor, meeting only 24 percent of the goals, a 2 percent increase from 2008.

(10b) What does this indicator tell us?  In 2009, water quality was again very poor, meeting only 24 percent of the goals, a 2 percent increase from 2008.

(11b) Why is it important to report this information?  

Water quality is the most important measure of the Chesapeake Bay’s health. For the Chesapeake Bay to be healthy and productive, the water must be safe for people and must support aquatic life, such as fish, crabs and oysters. The water should be fairly clear, have enough oxygen, contain the proper amount of algae and be free from chemical contamination. 

However, the indicators in this section show that water quality in the Bay remains extremely poor because of pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and chemicals. Rain causes these pollutants to runoff into local streams, creeks and rivers and the Bay itself. To improve water quality, the flow of pollution must continue to be reduced. This will increase water clarity and oxygen levels in the Bay, and will decrease harmful algae blooms and chemical contaminants.

(12b) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this top level index? 

Dissolved Oxygen Standards Attainment

Mid-Channel Water Clarity

Chlorophyll a

Chemical Contaminants

3.  Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health indicators only

(7c) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection) 

(8c) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)

(9c) What is the current status?

(10c) What is the key story told by this indicator?

(11c) Why is it important to report this information?

(12c) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?

C.  Temporal Considerations

(13) Data Collection Date(s):  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(14) Planned Update Frequency (e.g. - annual, bi-annual): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(a) Source Data:

(b) Indicator:

(15) For annual reporting, month data is available for reporting: Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

D.  Spatial Considerations

(16) Type of Geography of Source Data (point, line polygon, other): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(17) Acceptable Level of Spatial Aggregation (e.g. - county, state, major basin, tributary basin, HUC): Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(18) Are there geographic areas with missing data?  If so, where? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(19) The spatial extent of this indicator best described as:

(a) Chesapeake Bay (estuary)

(b) Chesapeake Bay Watershed

(c) Other (please describe): _______________________

Please submit any appropriate examples of how this information has been mapped or otherwise portrayed geographically in the past.

(20) Can appropriate diagnostic indicators be represented geographically? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

E.  Data Analysis and Interpretation

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(21) Is the conceptual model used to transform these measurements into an indicator widely accepted as a scientifically sound representation of the phenomenon it indicates?  (i.e., how well do the data represent the phenomenon?)  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(22) What is the process by which the raw data is summarized for development and presentation of the indicator?   Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(23) Are any tools required to generate the indicator data (e.g. - Interpolator, watershed model) Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(24) Are the computations widely accepted as a scientifically sound? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(25) Have appropriate statistical methods been used to generalize or portray data beyond the time or spatial locations where measurements were made (e.g., statistical survey inference, no generalization is possible)?  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(26) Are there established reference points, thresholds or ranges of values for this indicator that unambiguously reflect the desired state of the environment? (health/stressors only) Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

F.  Data Quality

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)

(27) Were the data collected according to an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Plan?  

If no, complete questions 28a – 28d:  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(28a) Are the sampling design, monitoring plan and/or tracking system used to collect the data over time and space based on sound scientific principles? 

(28b) What documentation clearly and completely describes the underlying sampling and analytical procedures used?  

(28c) Are the sampling and analytical procedures widely accepted as scientifically and technically valid? 

(28d) To what extent are the procedures for quality assurance and quality control of the data documented and accessible? 

(29) Are the descriptions of the study or survey design clear, complete and sufficient to enable the study or survey to be reproduced? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(30) Were the sampling and analysis methods performed consistently throughout the data record? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(31) If datasets from two or more agencies are merged, are their sampling designs and methods comparable? Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(32) Are uncertainty measurements or estimates available for the indicator and/or the underlying data set?  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(33) (Do the uncertainty and variability impact the conclusions that can be inferred from the data and the utility of the indicator?  Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

(34) Are there noteworthy limitations or gaps in the data record?  Please explain. Refer to the data and methods for the component indicators

G.  Additional Information

(optional)

(35) Please provide any other information about this indicator you believe is necessary to aid communication and any prevent potential miss-representation.

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