About Us

Chesapeake Bay Observing System

The Chesapeake Bay Observing System (CBOS):
Serving the data and information needs of the
Chesapeake and Coastal Bay communities.

The geographical region to be served by CBOS includes the Chesapeake Bay (CB) and its tributaries, the Delmarva Peninsula outer coastal bays, associated coastal drainage basins, and coastal waters influenced by discharges from these bays and near-shore ocean currents to the extent of the US Economic Exclusive Zone.

Initial geographical development of CBOS will focus through partnerships on the integration of current observing systems—chiefly within the CB, including its estuaries and their inputs from freshwater flows. Its geographic vision is to evolve through additional partnerships, enhancements, and new observational components, within the Bay and its estuaries and to the outer coastal bays and near-shore waters to fulfill its mission. CBOS partners with observational data and information needs further within the CB watersheds, will be able to integrate and build from CBOS to the CB watershed boundaries, which collectively will create a complete terrestrial-oceanic CB watershed observation system.


The vision of the Chesapeake Bay Observing System is to create and enhance a network of fundamental, real-time and verifiable observations with related metadata, archived data, and information products that meet the needs of the CB community. These operational data and information products will reflect decision-making and forecasting needs of the commercial, management, recreational, educational, scientific, research, regulatory, safety, and hazard sectors as outlined under the primary objectives of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (MACOORA) and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).


  • To engage a broad group of Chesapeake Bay community interests that require observational data and information products for human safety, maritime, hazard, and security operations, and the health, productivity, and sustainability of all living resources in the Bay;
  • To provide user-defined, real-time data and predictions, and historical data and information products, on past, current, and future physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the Bay through a broad-based observational program;
  • To build structures, including formal agreements and commitments, directed community activities, and working groups, to implement and enhance a broad-based operational observation program; and
  • To integrate operational data and information on the observed conditions of the Chesapeake Bay into the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (MACOORA) as part of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).  

Chesapeake Bay Observing System Core Goals

  1. Partner with governmental agencies and the private and public sectors to advocate for and enhance the development and efficiency of a Chesapeake Bay Observing System (CBOS), and to expand the opportunities to assist MACOORA and the U.S. IOOS on regional, coastal and oceanic systems development, integration and assessments.
  1. Promote and facilitate the use of Chesapeake Bay observational data (real-time, predicted and archived) and information products among users in the recreational, commercial, management, education, research, regulatory, and hazard sectors.
  1. Deploy and operate in situ and remote observational data collection and platform systems for the Chesapeake Bay.  Coordinate with other data providers to provide integrated data products and information in real-time.
  1. Develop, implement, enhance, and evaluate state-of-the-art operational, real-time and forecasting systems for the Chesapeake Bay.
  1. Develop, create and distribute user-defined data, information, and value-added products in near real-time and archival forms.
  1. Promote and assist in the development, adaptation, and evaluation of emerging observational technologies for field operations.  
  1. Facilitate and participate in the development and implementation of a regional data and information management system.  Promote standards to identify, access, distribute, and archive data, metadata, and visualization observation products, which are in DMAC compliant formats.