Environmental Monitoring

Providing a scientific foundation for education and research programs

The Wells Reserve maintains weather and water quality stations — and monitors nutrients and biological systems — as part of the System-wide Monitoring Program.

Each of the 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves participates in the System-wide Monitoring Program. For more than 20 years, the Wells Reserve has collected weather and water quality data. SWMP data provide a strong scientific foundation for education and research programs.

SWMP at the Wells Reserve

The Wells Reserve weather station, labeled "Laudholm Farm" (or WELLFMET) at nerrsdata.org, is located east of the Maine Coastal Ecology Center on the reserve's Laudholm campus.

Water monitoring stations are set in the two estuaries surrounding the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. "Inlet" (or WELINWQ) is in the mouth of the Webhannet River at Wells Harbor and "Skinner Mill" (or WELSMWQ) is upstream of the Little River mouth.

Each station transmits data hourly via satellite to the NOAA Centralized Data Management Office, which distributes the data upon request.

What Does SWMP Measure?

The following variables are measured by the Wells Reserve:


  • air temperature
  • wind speed 
  • wind direction
  • relative humidity
  • barometric pressure
  • photosynthetic active radiation
  • precipitation


  • temperature
  • pH (acidity)
  • turbidity (suspended particles)
  • salinity
  • dissolved oxygen


  • ammonium
  • nitrate
  • nitrite
  • ortho-phosphate
  • chlorophyll a

Biological Systems

  • community composition
  • species abundance
  • species distribution

Data Management

Our research staff run quality assurance and control tests on weather, water, and nutrient data, then submit files to NOAA’s Centralized Data Management Office. The CDMO makes data available to researchers, coastal managers, and educators.

Annual Report Cards

View our Report Card for 2019 (issued April 2021)

View our Report Card for 2018 (issued January 2020)

Our Homepage Data

The Current Conditions bar on our home page uses weather and water data obtained from additional monitoring equipment the reserve manages at Wells Harbor. These real-time data are distributed by NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services.

Sunset times are from Sunrise Sunset.

Screenshot of current conditions block from the homepage from May 2017.
Screen capture of current conditions block from our homepage, taken in early May 2017.

Access SWMP Data

Visit the Centralized Data Management Office to graph or download data from the Wells Reserve or any other reserve in the system.

Get Data