Estuarine water quality monitoring around the estuaries and sea loughs of Northern Ireland and offshore sites (1990-)

Data set information

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Data holding centreNorthern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
ProjectNational Marine Monitoring Program(NMMP)
Time periodFrom 1990 onwards
Geographical area

Estuaries, sea loughs and offshore sites around Northern Ireland


Bacteria taxonomic abundance in water bodies; Electrical conductivity of the water column; Chlorophyll pigment concentrations in water bodies; Dissolved oxygen parameters in the water column; Particulate total and organic nitrogen concentrations in the water column; Salinity of the water column; Secchi disk depth; Dissolved total and organic nitrogen concentrations in the water column; Concentration of suspended particulate material in the water column; Temperature variation in the water column; Bacteria taxonomic abundance in sediment; Alkalinity, acidity and pH of the water column; Transmittance and attenuance of the water column; Silicate concentration parameters in the water column


Optical backscatter sensors; discrete water samplers; pH sensors; autoanalysers; CTD; dissolved gas sensors


The Marine Pollution Monitoring Management Group (MPMMG) created the National Monitoring Plan (NMP) to extend the North Sea Task Force (NSTF) efforts and achieve a unified coastal water monitoring programme for all waters around the United Kingdom. In 1989, it was recognised that Estuarine Classification in Northern Ireland was inadequate and the EPD (Environment Protection Division (DOE(NI))) decided that the best way to build up a databank of consistent monitoring information which could be used for classification was to support the integrated approach and extend the NMP in the Province's estuaries and sea loughs. This approach is now called the Estuarine and Coastal Waters Monitoring Programme (ECWMP). The ECWMP incorporates a comprehensive plan to cover four recorded coastal (MPMMG) sites around the Province. The NMP records three of these as offshore sites whilst the fourth is defined as an intermediate site (outside Belfast Lough). There are 29 more sites spread over Northern Ireland's seven major estuaries and sea loughs. Thus the ECWMP is a programme which facilitates the establishment of a database which will permit the scientifically justifiable classification of all of the Province's saline waters. The basic concept in the execution of the ECWMP incorporates the objectives of covering all of the above parameters on a bi-monthly basis although the adverse weather conditions prevailing around the winter months usually precluded these objectives at that time. Spatial and temporal trends can then be established. Other determinands are measured at the four MPMMG sites such as trace organics, pesticides and metals; this is on an annual basis.

OriginatorsNorthern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit
OrganisationNorthern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit
ContactFreedom of Information Officer

Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit
17 Antrim Road
County Antrim
BT28 3AL
United Kingdom

Telephone02890 546677
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1073006
Global identifier807
Last revised2009-10-19