A central requirement of National Estuary Programs under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act is to document the effectiveness of efforts designed to improve or preserve the environmental integrity of estuarine resources and share the results via a “State of the Bays” report. This requires an understanding of the natural variability of the ecosystem. A key piece of the CCMP is the development of the MassBays Monitoring Framework, a strategy to document progress toward the desired environmental outcomes that MassBays stakeholders have identified:
• Improved habitat continuity and hydrology
• Improved water quality
• Restored natural communities
• More resilient coastal habitat
The MassBays Monitoring Framework is a supplemental technical document of the CCMP. It describes MassBays’ approach to integrate data from multiple monitoring programs to support State of the Bays reporting. It also describes how MassBays will address data gaps by providing support to citizen scientists to improve existing programs and create new programs that generate data that can be used for decision-making.