In order to continually move forward with innovative approaches to protect and restore the Bay, scientists, researchers and policy makers must be able to trust the accuracy of data collected from thousands of sites throughout the Bay watershed.
To insure this accuracy, the Chesapeake Bay Program maintains a Quality Assurance Program that monitors and tracks several environmental data sets that look at pollutants, water quality, land use, algae, fish, crabs and submerged aquatic vegetation.
The Chesapeake Bay Quality Assurance Program ensures that information from over 40 agencies and research institutions are not only scientifically valid, but comparable among researchers working in all parts of the watershed.
The Quality Assurance Program consists of an internal, EPA component within the Chesapeake Bay Program Office and several collaborative quality circles within the Chesapeake Bay Program Goal Implementation Team structure. Within the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, quality assurance work is done by the Quality Assurance (QA) Officer, the QA Coordinator, and EPA Project Officers.
Quality assurance for water quality monitoring is coordinated through the Analytical Methods and QA Workgroup.
The Chesapeake Bay Program Office Quality Management Plan (442 KB) contains additional information on the Chesapeake Bay Program Office quality system.
Organizations conducting projects and research for EPA that generate, compile, or use environmental data are required to establish and implement a quality system. Grantees and cooperators describe their quality systems in two formal documents, the Quality Management Plan and the Quality Assurance Project Plan.
Scientists follow proven methods and quality control procedures to collect environmental data. Methods are selected collaboratively through the Analytical Methods and Quality Assurance Workgroup. All field and laboratory procedures are documented in detail and can be accessed through the following sites:
Data quality is systematically checked at each stage of production using quality control samples. In addition, quality assurance staff conduct on-site audits and monitor laboratory performance on inter-laboratory split samples, reference samples and blind audit samples.