Water Characterization
The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) contracted this study to compile, assess, and integrate known information sources and data sets related to water quality for the MBNEP area. This study has been performed parallel to corollary baseline characterization efforts for living resources and habitat loss, and in conjunction with development of an overall Data and Information Management System (DIMS) to support these efforts. The baseline studies are intended to ensure that: 1) the MBNEP characterization is focused on the highest priority information needs, and 2) that assessments are obtained on information gaps to properly evaluate the possible problems prior to delineation of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP). Specific objectives of this Preliminary Characterization of Water Quality were identified as follows:
  • Conduct a literature baseline survey of all existing water quality information for the MBNEP study area. Evaluate literature for similarity and/or redundancy.
  • Identify and evaluate the existing water quality data sets for the MBNEP study area and comment on validity.
  • Identify data gaps from the existing water quality data sets.
  • Recommend additional water quality data collection and/or analysis for identified gaps and/or for parameters, areas, or problems incurred from nonexistent, lacking, or unreliable data/analysis.
  • Produce a historical water quality data characterization summary.
To address these objectives, project team members from Thompson Engineering with TAI Environmental Sciences, and supported by Wayne C. Isphording, Ph.D., have striven to incorporate all known water quality information sources into a user-friendly format for assessing the current water quality of the Mobile Bay estuarine system. An electronic Information Record Database was established to catalog and manage the many diverse information resources that have been compiled from a comprehensive search of literature and data pertaining to water quality in the MBNEP area prior to 1998. This database is comprised of over 850 information records identifying existing data sets and information sources, and has been used by project team researchers to evaluate the water quality information and identify data gaps.
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