There are many questions that Eyes on the Bay staff frequently answer. Below are some of our most asked questions and the answers. Click on each question to see the answers.
If you don't see your question answered below, you can Email an Expert to get your answer.
Questions about data, downloading, and data use:
You have a lot of data! What types of data are available, and where can I find them?
- We have several data programs, you can easily compare our data types in the handy table on our: Data Types Overview Table
- Another good place to start is in the Data Information Harbor, where you can find information about each data type, and links to pages for station information and data downloads: Data Information Harbor
We make all Continuous Monitoring data available on the Eyes on the Bay website, both continuous '15 min increment data', and monthly/bi-monthly 'calibration data' which is recorded during instrument maintenance times. These data are all available to view as charts or for download on our data query page. Note that current year data have not yet gone through a final Quality Assurance (QA) process: Continuous Monitoring Data & Charts
LONG-TERM FIXED-STATION MONTHLY MONITORING:
Our long-term stations are sampled every month (sometimes twice-monthly), and charts of these data compared with historical mean, minimum, and maximum values can be viewed on our:Long Term Monitoring Charts You can also view or download a station list, basic station information, and directly download long-term data sets from our: Long Term Station Information Table
We have both current year and archived data from our Vertical Profiler available for download on our: Vertical Profiler Data Query
DATAFLOW SPATIAL MAPPING:
Dataflow Data are available as either surface maps of integrated dataflow data, or as a direct raw data download. You can query for maps or download dataflow data on our: DATAFLOW Surface Maps & Data Query
Where can I find long-term data?
- Our longest-running sampling program is our Long-term Monthly Monitoring, which began in 1984. You can view stations, date ranges, and download data from our: Long Term Monthly Monitoring Station Information Table These data are submitted to the Chesapeake Bay Program Data Hub, where you can download multiple stations at once, and choose your preferred date range and parameters. To access this data, visit: Chesapeake Bay Program DataHub NOTE: The answer to the next question in this FAQ includes a tutorial for downloading from the DataHub.
- In addition, some of our Continous Monitoring stations also have long data records. You can find out longevity of sampling by using either our:Continuous Monitoring Station Information Table ...or you can use this visual timeline chart: Continuous Monitoring Station Timeline
- Once you've selected your Continuous Monitoring stations of interest, you can view charts or download 15min increment data from our: Continuous Monitoring Data & Charts Query page
I need help, how do I download data from Chesapeake Bay Program Data Hub?
- CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM DATA HUBWe have provided a step-by-step guide to help you with the process of downloading data from the Data Hub:
- STEP-BY-STEP DATA DOWNLOAD GUIDE
- These directions follow one specific example, but should help provide tips and tools for the general method that you can apply to your data download needs.
How can I access archived or historical data?
- Much of our data is now available directly on this website! We suggest reading the responses to the first two questions in this FAQ list, they will point you to all of our data.
How do I cite Eyes on the Bay, and what is your data use policy?
- Thank you for asking! We love for our data to be used and properly cited, here is a document for our:EYES ON THE BAY CITING METHODS AND DATA USE POLICY If you use our data in any poster, presentation, or publication please send us a reference. We will highlight some of these works on our website.
I'm conducting a research project on water quality over time, how can I get water quality data for multiple years?
- We get many data requests from students, teachers, and researchers and we're thrilled to have our data used in so many different ways.
- Our Data Types Overview explains differences among our data types and how to access each type: DATA TYPES OVERVIEWAdditionally, we suggest you read the answer to the first question in this FAQ list, it will point you to downloads of all of our data.
- If you are a researcher looking for a large dataset that you can't get through our online access either on this site or on the Chesapeake Bay Program DataHub, please use our: DATA REQUEST FORM
We love for our data to be used and properly cited, and all the information is in this document: EYES ON THE BAY CITING METHODS AND DATA USE POLICY. If you use our data in any poster, presentation, or publication please send us a reference. We'd like to start highlighting these works on our website.
Do you collect streamflow data?
- No, we do not collect streamflow data. Streamflow information and data are available through the: USGS WEBSITE
What are your Quality Assurance and Quality Control methods?
- We have rigorous protocols for maintenance and data quality assurance (QA) which we have documented in our Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) on our:MONITORING NEWS & NOTES PAGEUnder the menu for "Publication Type" choose "Quality Assurance Project Plan"
I'm interested in setting up a DATAFLOW program similar to yours, can you share any information on your equipment and procedures?
- Absolutely, we have extensive Quality Assurance Project Plans for the DATAFLOW program which outline collection, equipment and procedures in our Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) on our:MONITORING NEWS & NOTES PAGEUnder the menu for "Publication Type" choose "Quality Assurance Project Plan"
Concerns about environmental conditions:
How do I report a fish kill, algae bloom, or oil spill?
- The State has a toll-free 24 hour hotline you can use to report dead fish, algal blooms, unsafe boating, sewage spills, hazmat or oil spills, wetland violations, illegal fishing or hunting, just about anything that has to do with the outdoor environment. The HOTLINE phone number is: 877-224-7229. If you see anything unusual, calling this number will get you the quickest response.Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline (1-877-224-R-BAY)
How do I find out if an area is safe for swimming?
- Local government health departments measure bacterial counts at public swimming beaches. The local health departments coordinate with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) regarding reporting of closures. Links to those resources are all on our Eyes on the Bay page dedicated to:Swimming Health Related Resources
US EPA has a Beach Advisory and Closing Online Notification (BEACON) national map database to show locations of beach closings and health advisories:
- EPA Beach Information and BEACON
General advice that is provided regarding swinning in open waters is:
1. Persons with comprised immunity and/or open cuts should avoid water contact.
2. Avoid swimming 48 hours after heavy rainfalls. Heavy rainfalls wash pollutants and nutrients into waterways that can stimulate bacterial growth.
3. Wash well after water contact.
Are the crabs and fish from my river safe to eat?
- For all information relating to this topic, please consult: Maryland Department of the Environment's Fish Consumption Advisory Website.
There is sea grass growing in my creek, how do I find out what kind it is?
- Consider checking out Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Bay Grasses web pagesMaryland Department of Natural Resources Bay Grasses Website
- In the menu on the right-hand side there's even a link to an "Identifying Bay Grasses" tool.
You can either follow the directions for using the Identification key, or simply click the Select by common name list box, and choose species common names, one by one, to view images and information about each Bay Grass species.
Questions about educational resources:
Do you have any free educational resources or lesson plans that I can use to help educate my class about Chesapeake Bay water quality?
- Yes, we do! We have free water quality lesson plans for Eyes on the Bay located on our: Lesson Plans Page The main Maryland Department of Natural Resources Education page also has a lot of great resources for educators: Maryland Department of Natural Resources Education Page
- And the NOAA buoy system that we help to maintain in the Bay has Chesapeake Exploration educational activities on water quality:Chesapeake Exploration
Is it legal to spread cremated ashes in the Chesapeake Bay?
- After some research and speaking to the Executive Director of the Maryland Board of Morticians (BOM) and Funeral Directors, here is what we found:
1. In Maryland it is NOT legal to spread ashes in the Bay or rivers or public lands.
- 2. Ashes can only be put on private property of your own or someone who agrees to it.
- 3. Maryland abides by federal law, so you can spread ashes at sea beyond 3 nautical miles but you should check with your licensed funeral director on specifics.
- Here are a few links which may be helpful:
- Document on cremation specifics given to MD decedent's loved ones
- EPA Regulations on Burial at Sea
- Board of Morticians (BOM) website
I didn't see my question listed, how do I contact someone?
- If you didn't find the answer to your question in this list of FAQs then Email an Expert to get your answer! Email An Expert