Data Submittal Requirements

Whether your data type should be submitted through CEDEN or the Integrated Report Upload Portal, the data must meet minimum requirements. This helps ensure the data is of high quality and the correct data are being using in the appropriate assessment. Your data cannot be assessed if these minimum requirements are not met.

Instructions for submitting data to CEDEN

The California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) is a central location to store and share information about California’s waterbodies, including streams, lakes, rivers, and coastal ocean waters. Many groups in California monitor water quality, aquatic habitat, and wildlife health to ensure good stewardship of ecological resources. CEDEN aggregates these data and makes it accessible to environmental managers and the public.

The CEDEN website provides information about preparing and submitting data to CEDEN, including data templates that prescribe the CEDEN formats; detailed documentation that defines data elements; and lists that contain the current controlled vocabulary values that can be used in your submittals. Vocabulary that isn't currently listed can be requested through a vocabulary process, which is also outlined on the website.

CEDEN accepts the following data types:

  • Chemistry: laboratory results from water samples or sediment samples
  • Field collection: measurements collected in the field, including field probes and habitat
  • Toxicity: results from water column or sediment toxicity tests
  • Tissue: laboratory results from fish tissue or other tissue samples
  • Bioassessment: habitat measures and observations, benthic macroinvertebrate and algae taxonomy

Prior to submitting your data, please review the minimum data elements required for your data type(s). Click here for more information about CEDEN data templates.

Be prepared to include this critical information for assessment. Your data may be un-assessable without this information:

  • Latitude, longitude, and datum of site locations. Note that the Target Latitude and Target Longitude fields in CEDEN are used by assessment staff to map waterbodies and if these coordinates are inaccurate the data may not be assessed.
  • Minimum detection limit (MDL) and reporting limit (RL). These are especially important if data results include “non-detect” (ND), “detected not quantified” (DNQ), or “too numerous to count” (TNC)
  • Quality assurance (QA) codes, when applicable
  • Batch verification codes, when applicable

What are the requirements of quantitative data?

  • Quantitative data must include the following:
    • Date and time of measurements;
    • Station code and name,
    • Location of measurements (latitude, longitude, and datum);
    • Number of samples;
    • Analytes;
    • Units of measurement;
    • Methods, detection and reporting limits,
    • Other relevant factors;
  • Supporting or associated analytical data (e.g. hardness data with dissolved metals samples, temperature, and pH data with ammonia measurements);

Please see the Listing Policy sections 6.1.2 and 6.1.4 for more information on data submittals.

Instructions for Non-CEDEN Submissions

Data and information that cannot be uploaded into CEDEN must be submitted directly via the Integrated Report Upload Portal.

Numeric data must be in electronic format that can be manipulated by Water Board staff for assessment (e.g., spreadsheet, comma separated text file). Numeric data will not be assessed if submitted in portable document format (PDF) or as a web link reference. Qualitative information (such as a photograph) can be submitted in a PDF.

  • Contact information of person/organization submitting the data
  • Applicable regional water board
  • Applicable pollutant categories
  • Time-period over which the data were collected
  • Summary of submittal or list of submittal contents and any instructions required for assessment, which may include:
    • Definitions for codes or abbreviations used
    •  Whether additional summaries or instructions are attached to the cover sheet or where they are included in the submittal
  • Sampling location information:
    • Station Name(s)
    • Station Code(s) (if available)
    • Latitude, longitude, and datum

Numeric data, such as continuous monitoring data, must include:

  • Date and time of measurements
  • Number of samples
  • Analytes
  • Units of measurement
  • Methods, detection and reporting limits
  • Supporting or associated analytical data (e.g. hardness data with dissolved metals samples, temperature, salinity, and pH data with ammonia measurements)
  • Other relevant factors

Qualitative information, such as narratives, must:

  • Describe events or conditions that indicate impacts on water quality
  • Provide linkage between the measurement endpoint (e.g., a study that may have been performed for some other purpose) and the water quality standard of interest
  • Be scientifically defensible
  • Provide analyst’s credentials and training
  • Be verifiable by the State Water Board or Regional Water Board staff

Photographic documentation must include description of:

  • Date and time photograph(s) taken
  • The spatial representation of the photographs, (e.g., reach, location)
  • The temporal representation, (e.g., time of year)
  • The linkage between photograph-represented condition and condition that indicates impacts on water quality
  • The photographer’s rationale for area photographed and camera settings used
  • Any additional pertinent information about the photograph(s) to support assessment

What are the requirements of Quality Assurance documents?

All data should be accompanied by a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) or equivalent document. If the data are not supported by a QAPP or equivalent document, the data would not be used by itself (as a primary line of evidence) to support a listing or delisting of a water segment. Each QAPP must be signed by the person who is responsible for the quality of the data submitted for the assessment. Data and information not accompanied by a QAPP or equivalent document can be used as part of a weight of evidence determination (see sections 3.11 or 4.11 of the Listing Policy).

The QAPP or equivalent document must be submitted via the Integrated Report Upload Portal.

The QAPP or equivalent document must contain the following:

  • Objectives of the study, project, or monitoring program
  • Descriptions of monitoring locations
  • Monitoring schedule and frequency
  • Methods used for sample collection and handling
  • Field and laboratory measurement and analysis
  • Data management, review and validation, and recordkeeping (including chain of custody) procedures
  • Quality assurance and quality control requirements
  • A statement certifying the adequacy of the QAPP plus name of person certifying the document
  • Dates for which the QAPP is applicable
  • Description of final data storage location (e.g., CEDEN)

For CEDEN data, the CEDEN Parent Project Name and the dates for which the QAPP applies must be included.

For non CEDEN data, the QAPP must be submitted along with the data via the Integrated Report Upload Portal.

Additional Information

I think a waterbody needs to be reassessed. What can I do?

Any person or entity may request reassessment of a water body on the existing section 303(d) List. A waterbody does not need to be on-cycle to be re-assessed. The interested person should contact WQA staff and:

  • Describe the reason(s) the listing is inappropriate and clearly state the reason the interested party would come to a different outcome.
  • Provide the data and information necessary, according to the Listing Policy, to enable staff to conduct a complete reassessment.