Science & Research

State of Our Estuaries Indicators 2013At the core of the PREP program is our science, research and monitoring. PREP funds and coordinates scientific research projects and long-term monitoring to answer questions about the health of the estuaries and how they are changing over time.

PREP summarizes data from monitoring programs in the estuary using environmental indicators, which are measurable markers that help interpret the condition of the environment and how it changes over time. PREP currently tracks 30 different environmental indicators of water quality, shellfish resources, land use and critical species and habitats. PREP also gathers and analyzes data on 20 other supporting variables that are used to understand the causes behind trends in the indicators. For each environmental indicator, PREP has developed a numeric target based on the goals and objectives in the Management Plan. Some targets are fixed thresholds (e.g. water quality standards like dissolved oxygen), while other targets are related to trends over time. Every three years PREP publishes a status and trends report called the State of Our Estuaries Report.

State of Our Estuaries 2013


Research and reports prepared by PREP and its partners answer specific questions about the estuaries. A full archive of all reports is available in our Publications Library.

Researcher Adam Bauman from UNH uses a syringe to collect a "grab sample" of water in a stream.

Researcher Adam Baumann from UNH uses a syringe to collect a “grab sample” of water in a stream. This sample of water is then taken back to the lab to determine the amount of nitrogen in the water and other properties.

PREP works with a Science & Technical Advisory Committee made up of university researchers, government officials and non-governmental organizations to ensure that our science is of the highest quality.

Want to know more about indicators? Check out the Science of Indicators.

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.