SWAMP - Tools
A key component of the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is the development, implementation, and maintenance of the monitoring infrastructure (e.g., indicators, methods, quality assurance/quality control [QA/QC], and data management) necessary to support a robust monitoring program while also fostering data comparability and collaboration with monitoring partners. This page provides access to those tools.
Quality assurance (QA) is an integrated system of management activities (i.e., planning, implementation, assessment, reporting, and quality improvement) that focuses on providing confidence in the data or product by ensuring that it is of the type and quality needed and expected by the client.
The State Water Resources Control Board Quality Assurance/Quality Control website
The key components of the SWAMP QA program are: the Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPrP), QA Project Plans (QAPPs), and other QA Resources (including QA training, a Help Desk and the SWAMP QA team).
- QAPrP describes SWAMP's quality system including elements such as; responsibilities of management and staff; as well as quality control and sample handling guidelines for both laboratory and field activities.
- New! 2017 SWAMP Quality Assurance Program Plan (entire document) Google Doc version with current information, for the purpose of programmatic updates only. PDF document (Approved by US EPA in May 2017) for download.
- US EPA Approval Letter for 2017 QAPrP
- SWAMP Quality Control and Sample Handling Guidelines (clickable links to individual tables) 2013 Revised Tables. Posted - April 8, 2013
These guidelines are also known as Measurement Quality Objectives (MQOs) or MQO Tables.
- 2008 SWAMP Quality Assurance Program Plan (entire document)
- Freshwater Reporting Limits 2015 Revised freshwater reporting limits. Posted April 27, 2015.
- Quality Assurance Memos
Changes to policies and procedures related to SWAMP quality assurance (QA) are often documented in the form of programmatic memos.
- 2002 Quality Assurance Management Plan for SWAMP (for appendices contact OIMA Help Desk)
- A QAPP is required for certain large, ongoing, or special projects. To streamline the creation of these documents, SWAMP encourages the use of the following resources:
- SWAMP QAPP Review Checklist - a tool for assessing each element of a completed SWAMP-comparable QAPP. This checklist is equally useful during QAPP creation.
- Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans and EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans - Environmental Protection Agency Quality System documents that are the basis for the above QAPP tools.
- The following resources provide additional assistance with SWAMP comparability:
- SWAMP QA Help Desk – a telephone and email service that provides support and tools for SWAMP-comparable projects.
- The following Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) were developed by various statewide monitoring and assessment programs. They may be referenced or excerpted in the production of QAPPs for other projects.
- Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program
- Bioassessment Monitoring Program - June 2009
- Stream Pollution Trends (SPoT) Monitoring Program - May 2010
- Assessing Natural Water Quality in Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) - October 2008
- Corrective Action (updated 03/06/12)
A PDF document that describes the process followed by SWAMP to document, resolve, and follow-up on corrective actions associated with programmatic samples. The process is based on the SWAMP Corrective Action Form, and is applied to sample results that fail to meet the technical and non-technical requirements of SWAMP and its associated projects.
- Data Classification System (updated 06/17/10)
A PDF document that describes the process used by the Quality Assurance Team (QAT) and Data Management Team (DMT) to classify data batches and sample results that will be included in the SWAMP database. Classifications are based on the requirements specified in the QAPrP.
- Help Desk Review of Quality Assurance Project Plans (updated 05/02/11)
A PDF document that describes the process used by the SWAMP Help Desk to review the quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) of projects seeking SWAMP comparability. The review may include consultation with the Help Desk, and produces a completed checklist and narrative that may be used to make QAPP updates prior to document approval.
- Quality Systems Assessment for Contract Laboratories (updated 07/01/10)
A PDF document that details the process used by the QAT to conduct assessments of SWAMP contract laboratories. During these assessments, procedures, personnel, and facilities are evaluated against QAPrP guidelines.
- Review of Program-funded Quality Assurance Project Plans (updated 04/13/11)
A PDF document that describes the process used by the QAT to review the QAPPs associated with SWAMP-funded projects. The review may include consultation with the QAT, and produces a completed checklist and narrative that may be used to make QAPP updates prior to document approval.
In order to be SWAMP-comparable, bioassessment sampling (benthic macroinvertebrates and algae) must be conducted according to SWAMP’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) (links provided below). There are no other SWAMP-mandated field methods. Additional resources regarding field methods are provided for informational purposes.
- Data Entry and Submittal
SWAMP maintains various tools for entering and submitting taxonomy data to SWAMP and CEDEN (California Environmental Data Exchange Network). Access to the forms, additional documentation, and training webinars can be found on the SWAMP Data Management Resource Tools page. BMI sample data that are directly funded by SWAMP should be reported to SWAMP in coordination with the project manager and Data Management Team (DMT) liaison. BMI laboratories that are processing samples not funded by SWAMP can use SWAMP tools for entering data, but these laboratories should submit data to CEDEN. If using the SWAMP MS Access Taxa Entry database form to enter taxonomy data, Appendix B of Standard Operating Procedures for Laboratory Processing and Identification of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in California details the process followed by DFG-ABL with additional documentation provided through the SWAMP Data Management Resource Tools link.
The SWAMP Field Methods Course is complete with the addition of Module 7 in November 2012: Biological & Physical Assessments (Modules 1-6 date from November 2005). This narrated video course introduces the concepts used in SWAMP sample collection and field analysis. The course now includes the following seven modules: Reconnaissance, Water Quality Measurements, Flow Measurements, Water Sampling, Sediment Sampling, Sample Handling and Shipping, and Biological & Physical Assessments. Get more information on how to view this Fields Method Course online or to request a copy of the course on CDs.
Standard Operating Procedures for Conducting Field Measurements
- SOP for Conducting Field Measurements and Field Collections of Water and Bed Sediment Samples with Associated Field Measurements and Physical Habitat in California. Version 1.1 - Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory - Department of Fish and Wildlife (MPSL-DFW) - March 2014
A PDF document that describes field measurement and collection procedures used by the Marine Pollution Studies Lab - Department of Fish and Wildlife (MPSL-DFW) for SWAMP water and bed sediment samples. This SOP is for reference and information purposes only and is not required by SWAMP. Water Quality Field Data Sheets for the SWAMP v2.5 database are also available.
California Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (CRAM)
Analysis of Pyrethroid Insecticides in Surface Water & Sediments
- Recent Advances in the Analysis of Pyrethroid Insecticides in Surface Water and Sediments - Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Fish and Wildlife Water Pollution Control Laboratory - November 2011
Techniques for Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species
- Water Quality Indicators
- A Compilation of Water Quality Goals
Numeric water quality thresholds from the literature for over 860 chemical constituents and water quality parameters. The text of the report explains, with examples, how these thresholds may be used to assess protection of beneficial uses of water resources in the context of California's quality standards. A summary of relevant statutes, regulations, plans, and policies and links to original references are included.
The SWAMP Field Methods Course is now complete with the addition of Module 7: Biological & Physical Assessments (Modules 1-6 date from November 2005). This narrated video course introduces the concepts used in SWAMP sample collection and field analysis. The course now includes the following seven modules: Reconnaissance, Water Quality Measurements, Flow Measurements, Water Sampling, Sediment Sampling, Sample Handling and Shipping, and Biological & Physical Assessments. Get more information on how to view this course online or to request a copy of the course on CDs.
“Kickoff Meetings” are held before the start of the sample season to ensure that everyone involved in the monitoring project understands their roles and responsibilities as it pertains to various tasks such as sample transport, Chain of Custody forms, and quality assurance. The tools listed here help to ensure that, at a minimum, these topics are discussed so all logistics are coordinated before sampling starts. Past Regional Board kickoff meeting example agendas are provided to be used as a reference when creating your own kickoff meeting materials. Use of these tools are not a requirement for conducting a kickoff meeting.
The SWAMP’s Clean Water Team (CWT) is the citizen monitoring program of the State Water Resources Control Board. Its mission is to build and support the State’s Watersheds Stewardship through involvement in citizen monitoring in order to reduce and prevent water pollution. The Clean Water Team’s Citizen Monitoring Coordinator provides technical assistance, training, data management consultation, and outreach and education to citizen monitoring organizations. Get more information concerning the Clean Water Team.
Clean Water Team Guidance Compendium for Watershed Monitoring and Assessment
The purpose of this Compendium is to enhance the user’s knowledge and ability to make decisions regarding measurements of water quality in various water body types. It should be useful to field operators conducting water quality monitoring, technical advisors and trainers of citizen monitoring groups, agency staff, or any other person interested in water quality issues.
Clean Water Team’s Tool Box for Citizen Monitoring Programs
In addition to the Clean Water Team's Guidance Compendium for Watershed Monitoring and Assessment, the Tool Box has template files and documents that will help citizen monitors manage and organize their water quality monitoring data.
- Clean Water Team Tool Box
- California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup (2014-2016)
- California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup (2003–2013), including Citizen Monitoring Presentations
Data Management Resources
The California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN)
A distributed data system, comprised of a number of Regional Data Centers, designed to facilitate integration and sharing of data collected by many different participants. CEDEN’s mission is to simplify and improve access to California’s water resource monitoring data by providing services that integrate, standardize, and display data from a diverse array of monitoring and data management efforts. CEDEN serves as the venue through which SWAMP data are made available to the public.