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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.

NERRS map 2022 508 OCM
Each of the 30 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 quality monitoring stations are set in the two estuaries surrounding the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, including the mouth of the Webhannet River at Wells Harbor and upstream of the Little River mouth.

Each station transmits data hourly via satellite to the NOAA Centralized Data Management Office, which provides several tools for observing, visualizing, and manipulating the data. These are among our favorites (search for WELLFMET for weather or other WELxxxxx stations for water quality and nutrient data):

What Does SWMP Measure?

The following variables are measured by the Wells Reserve:

Weather

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

Water

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

Nutrients

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

Biological Systems

  • community composition
  • species abundance
  • species distribution

Data Management

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

Annual SWMP Report Cards

2021 Highlights

  • Water and air temperature were warmer than average, particularly in Spring.
  • The summer was rainier than it had been in 11 years.
  • Salinity was lower than average in Summer and higher than average in Spring.
  • pH was lower than average (more acidic) in Summer.

Download Trend Reports

Our Homepage Data

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

Sunset times are from Sunrise Sunset.

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 CDMO Data