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Water Quality

Water Quality Monitoring Program

The Pleasant Bay Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program is a comprehensive monitoring program that collects nutrient related water quality data. The Alliance, in cooperation with the Harwich Natural Resources Office, Friends of Chatham Waterways and Orleans Water Quality Task Force, has recruited and trained more than 150 volunteers to monitor field conditions and collect water quality samples at 33 locations throughout the Bay. All program procedures follow a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Water quality data is collected for the following parameters: salinity, temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Secchi Depth, Phytoplankton Pigments (Chloraphyll-a and Phaeophytin), Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen, Particulate Organic Nitrogen, Dissolved Organic Nitrogen, Total Organic Nitrogen, Total Nitrogen and Organic Carbon.

Samples are collected at two depths (one-half meter below surface and one-half meter above bottom) for most stations. During each sampling event stations are randomly selected for duplicate sampling as specified in the QAPP. Once collected, water samples are transported to the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus for nutrient analysis.

Online Volunteer Training Video

Pleasant Bay Alliance Water Quality Monitoring Program: Statistical Analysis of 2000-2014 Water Quality Monitoring Data

Interim Report on Water Quality Data 2000-2008
Statistical Analysis of Multi-year Water Quality Monitoring Data (Cadmus Group, 2010)
Quality Assurance Project Plan

Map of monitoring locations:

Water Quality Data Archive
For information about water quality monitoring data collected by the Pleasant Bay Alliance, please contact Carole Ridley at cr@ridleyandassociates.com.