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SWIMS help guides
About the SWIMS database.
SWIMS data model
Projects, monitoring stations, fieldwork events, finding data.
Surface water viewer
Great Lakes data
Beach stations, projects, grants, and data.
River & stream data
Stations, projects, results.
Wetlands data
Wetlands data in SWIMS.
Aquatic invasives
Aquatic invasives in Wisconsin.
Citizen lake data
Explore citizen lake monitoring datasets.
Citizen stream data
Volunteer stream monitoring.
Wisconsin Data Exchange
Contact information
For information on this page, contact:

Wisconsin Water Quality Exchange (WQX) network submittals

Wisconsin has received several grants through the National Environmental Information Exchange Network (NEIEN) to prepare and transfer monitoring data to the Water Quality Exchange (WQX) Network. This generous funding provided the resources to:

  • finalize the development of our integrated monitoring system ("SWIMS")
  • create and implement quality protocols and improvements for stations, methods, equipment, fieldwork events, results, and qaqc plans
  • set up data flows with laboratories and partner agencies locally, in-state, and at the federal level
  • map our datasystem to the water quality exchange network and initiate monthly flows of data to the WQX.

Summary of 2005-07 Work under the NEIEN-WQX grant

Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to submit over 1 million results to the WQX. Mr. James Hudson provided a summary of the issues and considerations involved in this work at the 2007 STORET Conference in Austin, Texas. Below are additional elements of the data migration/flows grant work that led up to Mr. Hudson's lead work in submitting this data to the WQX. Read about Wisconsin's Biological and Habitat Exchange Grant (07-09).Wisconsin's Biological and Habitat Exchange Grant (07-09).


Completion date

List Outcomes for Each Goal, and, if they differ, each Output

Maintain statewide stations for monitoring


36,835 stations exist in SWIMS. These are a mixture of point and polygon stations. Update in 2012: 53,884 stations in SWIMS.

State lab portal


We have set up a nightly process for data flows from the state lab portal into SWIMS nightly. If the data does not have a station it sits in a SWIMS worktable until staff can attach a station to the fieldwork event. However, there remain 56212 fieldwork events that reside in SWIMS worktables without a station, most of these (over 46,000) are from the USGS.

USGS Data exchange – new element


DNR and USGS recognized issue during 2006/07 contract negotiations and began generating sample ID’s and migrating cross referenced USGS ID’s for updated data flow into the SWIMS tables during that time. Lakes USGS projects are much improved. USGS Rivers/Streams remain an issue and work is ongoing to modify procedures to seamlessly receive data funded or jointly funded by Wisconsin DNR and implemented by USGS. Reconcile jointly managed sampling events. This issue is known to internal management at DNR and we continue to look for opportunities to address the problem.

We are short staffed without the Exchange LTE and with budget cuts, hiring freezes, this has been reduced in priority but we will continue to look for ways to stem the increase in data that do not have a station (ie., and which thus do not get migrated to SWIMS).

Lakes water quality


Entire database was migrated into SWIMS. All data up to 2006 monitoring season has been migrated. 100% transition to the new SWIMS system in December 2006. 



Legacy STORET for dates preceding implementation of the state lab portal was migrated into the SWIMS system. Care was taken to join projects/fieldwork events where matches were possible.

The 156,000 results in our Legacy Worktable from 1970-1985 are not in the lab portal and thus were migrated to SWIMS. 230,000 results in WI’s Legacy dataset from 1986-2006 are likely in the lab portal already and thus were not migrated to SWIMS.

Aquatic exotics


Eurasian Water milfoil, Zebra Mussel infestations migrated spatial and tabular data; boat landing signage locations migrated in 3/06. Legacy AIS data to be migrated in 2007 (postponed until after legacy STORET).



All electronic historical data has been migrated. Remaining work includes attributing data with vertical measure (requires investigators to do this work). Ongoing use of swims now for new sediment projects.

Lakes long term trends


Most data has been migrated through the lab portal; surveys to determine pc-based datasets identified 80 users with field data on their pc's which may be related to this and other datasets. This pc-based data will be migrated to the system over time.



Partnership with UW-Stevens Point is established. Over 10,000 historical and current surveys (since 1984) have been transferred to SWIMS including both the individual species at the site as well as the summary metrics per fieldwork event. A work flow has been established and we migrate a batch of data about once every 6 months.

Temperature studies


2004-05 continuous temperature data migrated, as well as citizen based stream monitoring work. Over 5 different continuous meter tools, most of which are multi-metric tools, have been enabled in SWIMS production. Field staffs still require training and support to take full advantage of this new tool.

Volunteer river monitoring


SWIMS is the repository for the state's Citizen Based Stream Monitoring Program this year: volunteer data and related information are in SWIMS. The outcome of the first year's pilot project determined changes for the 2 nd year and the project and program are moving successfully forward.

Mississippi river


Historical lab data has been migrated; however additional Mississippi River data resides in shared data system for the Mississippi river, which is sufficient for archiving the data.

Work will ensure next year on analyzing what data, if any, resides only on personal computer drives and which should be migrated into SWIMS.

Aquatic plants


Migration of aquatic plant data is currently focused on setting up program side protocols for sensitive area studies. Once higher data migration and programming priorities are finished, we will set up a protocol for migrating existing data and forms for entering current information into the system. We have made plans to hold the specific lat/long at the sample group level, which will allow detailed mapping of results from transect surveys completed for plant studies.

Beach monitoring

2006 field season through SLOH

In 2006, the BEACH program started using SWIMS to identify monitoring stations. Pathogen data analyzed at SLOH will automatically migrate to SWIMS. Additional field collected data can be manually entered. Migration of historical data has not be yet been discussed.

Baseline rivers (fisheries stations)


All fisheries stations are now managed in SWIMS. Integration of the Fisheries Management Database and SWIMS stations is implemented. The Fish Database now uses SWIMS for all monitoring station location work. A connection has been established which links SWIMS stations to the Fish DB at USGS. Now that this is established, we are working on identifying efficient methods of integrating additional data including fish kill locations, fish propagation sites, fish health survey data (fish disease). Data located in SWIMS is then available to internal staff and the public after quality control procedures are implemented.

Water quality monitoring schema available


We have mapped SWIMS to the WQX schema and we have worked through the final details of mapping units and characteristic data to the WQX fields. Jim Hudson, our programmer now submits regular exports of data to the WQX monthly and we are working biological and habitat data next.

CDX/OW and Wisconsin DNR in production mode


Wisconsin became the first WQX millionaire in submitting activities and results to the WQX system. We continue to send new data monthly using the FCD.

Last revised: Wednesday April 22 2015