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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Delaware Coastal Programs : DNERR : DNERR Coastal Monitoring

Coastal Monitoring by the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve


DNERR Weather StationTo help us understand more about coastal Delaware, we monitor various environmental parameters. This data provides insights into complex estuarine ecosystems. Some of the data that's gathered is posted in real-time while long-term data sets are available for download from the links below.

System Wide Monitoring Program

A major research aspect of all NERR sites is the system wide monitoring program (SWMP), which is designed to fulfill two major goals:

  • To support state-specific non-point source pollution control programs by establishing local networks of continuous water quality and meteorological monitoring stations in representative protected estuarine ecosystems; and,
  • To develop a nationwide database on baseline environmental conditions in the NERR system of estuaries. Information about SWMP and water quality data for all NERR sites can be found at:

Water quality monitoring is performed within the Blackbird Creek and St. Jones River watersheds. Three stations utilizing YSI 6600-series data sondes exist along the St. Jones River at the following locations: Scotton Landing, Lebanon Landing, and Division Street. The three Blackbird water quality stations include: Blackbird Landing, Beaver Water Quality MonitoringBranch, and Taylor’s Bridge. Recorded parameters at each site include: temperature (C), specific conductivity (ms), salinity (ppt), dissolved oxygen concentration (mg/l), dissolved oxygen percent saturation (%), ph (pH units), turbidity (NTU), and depth (m).

Meteorological monitoring takes place via a Campbell Scientific weather station located on the boardwalk near the DNERR visitor center. A vast array of parameters are recorded in 15-minute intervals including: temperature (C), relative humidity (%), barometric pressure (mb), LiCor (PAR), precipitation (mm), wind speed (m/s), and wind direction. The data travels from the station to the visitors center, where it may be viewed in the main lobby or via the internet at the following link found above.

Nutrient monitoring occurs at each water quality station via monthly grab samples. Additional diel samples are collected at the Scotton Landing site through the use of an automated Isco sampler. Each sample is analyzed offsite for the following nutrients and plant pigments: orthophosphate (mg/l), nitrite + nitrate (mg/l), nitrite (mg/l), nitrate (mg/l), ammonium (mg/l), dissolved inorganic nitrogen (mg/l), silica (mg/l), chlorophyll-a (ug/l), and Pheophytin (ug/l). Additional information about SWMP and water quality, meteorological, and nutrient data for all NERR sites can be found at the Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO) website.   

 Other Coastal Monitoring

Delaware Bay Wave Buoys

Two wave buoys are located in middle and lower Delaware Bay which record hourly wave direction, height and period parameters along with water surface temperature. This real-time data is transmitted hourly to the Reserve by satellite.Sediment Elevation Table Reading

Sediment Elevation Tables

A series of Sediment Elevation Tables are located along the St Jones River and Blackbird Creek Reserves.  These instruments montior changes in marsh elevation at the millimeter level. Data is recorded quarterly. This data is critical for sea level rise adaptation planning in the State.

Cooperative Monitoring

The Reserve supplies expertise and logistic support for other meterological stations in the State in cooperation with the University of Delaware, Delaware Environmental Operating System (DEOS).

Links to DNERR Data

NERRS CDMO - Real-time and archival SWMP data,

DEOS - Real-time meteorological data, wave data, partial SWMP water quality data

National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) - Real-time wave data


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