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New Modem Provides More-Reliable Data from Bottom Sensor at Gooses Reef

Additional data from the Gooses Reef CBIBS buoy location is once again available, thanks to deployment of a new acoustic modem that relays water-quality information from the bottom of the Bay to the main buoy.

Parameters tracked there—roughly 37.5 feet below the surface—are:

  • Chlorophyll a
  • Dissolved oxygen (in mg/l) and oxygen saturation (in %)
  • Acidity
  • Salinity and conductivity
  • Temperature
  • Turbidity
  • Depth

All CBIBS buoys track a standard suite of meteorological and water-quality data and water conditions; several buoys have additional sensors relevant to their locations. The CBIBS team is exploring these prototype sensors—including the bottom water-quality sensor at Gooses Reef; a nitrate sensor at Susquehanna; and receivers that track tagged fish at Jamestown and First landing to learn more about the equipment and analyze whether the sensors might be useful elsewhere.

Data collected by the bottom water-quality sensor—in a cube-shaped structure sitting on the Bay bottom—at the Gooses Reef CBIBS buoy is relayed to the main buoy using an acoustic modem. The data from the bottom then joins data from the main buoy as it is sent to a computer on land via wireless cellular technology.

Gooses Reef bottom sensor ready to be deployed

The Gooses Reef CBIBS buoy previously tracked conditions at the bottom and sent data to the main buoy using a different model of acoustic modem. The new modem, supplied by AquaSeNT, should send stronger signals and use its battery power more efficiently, meaning more reliable data.

Close up of the Gooses Reef bottom sensor

The CBIBS team chose to deploy the bottom sensor and acoustic modem at this location where the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative built a reef thanks to funds provided by The Dominion Foundation. Today, the buoy location is the site of an innovative restoration project, marked on NOAA charts as a fish haven. Rubble from what was the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (part of the Washington, D.C., beltway) was placed on the bottom there to create habitat. The Dominion Foundation also made the initial purchase of the Gooses Reef buoy and its sensors possible.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources also works closely with the NOAA Chespaeake Bay Office on this buoy--they work closely with NOAA on servicing data, ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency recieves water-quality data from CBIBS and from Maryland DNR's Eyes on the Bay network.