Water Quality Monitoring Program


Click here for How is Our Bay report (2012)

Click here for the State of the Bay Report (2009)

Mission statement

BarnstableHarbor004The Center’s latest commitment to marine conservation is the Cape Cod Bay Ocean Sanctuary & Monitoring Programs. The shared mission of the two programs is to:

-To study the quality and health of Cape Cod Bay through applied science and research;
-To protect and when possible restore the Bay’s estuaries and marshes, barrier beaches, creeks, rivers and harbors from human and natural threats;
-To inform the public and decision makers about the natural resources of the Bay and threats to their long-term protection;
-To advise local, state and federal resource managers about this unique marine environment;
-To preserve Cape Cod Bay as a State Ocean Sanctuary, as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program background

IMG_7280As a follow-up to its four-year monitoring program on the effects of the Boston Outfall on Cape Cod Bay, the Center expanded its commitment to marine conservation of Cape Cod Bay.

In spring of 2006, the Center for Coastal Studies began the Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program, a long-term program designed to study the health of the Bay ecosystem. The focus of this program is water quality and related indicators of ecosystem health. Over 40 stations located along the shoreline (from Provincetown to Duxbury) and throughout Cape Cod Bay are sampled bi-weekly (April – October) for data on temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll a, and nutrients. Additional data are collected by volunteers from sites further inshore. Year-round sampling is conducted at select stations.

In 2013 the monitoring program widened to include sites in Nantucket Sound; testing parameters were also expanded to test for pharmaceutical compounds both in the water and in organic material such as shellfish tissue, eelgrass and algae.

Other components of the Monitoring Program include research on eelgrass ecosystems (mapping, restoration, habitat studies), coastal geology (land-sea interaction), and salt marsh restoration.

The Water Quality Monitoring program is supported by State and County organizations and private foundations.




Visit the Massachusetts Environmental Trust
Visit the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Visit the Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative
Visit the Buzzards Bay Coalition