Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beach Monitoring at Semiahmoo

Some might wonder why we get up at 5:00 a.m. on a potentially rainy Saturday morning in order to meet up and drive forty-five minutes to a deserted beach at Semiahmoo to collect data at the precise time when the tide reaches the 1', 0' and minus 1' levels. Why? Because we care about the health of our local beaches.
By following the established WSU Beacher Watcher and beach monitoring guidelines and procedures, we take measurements and record data once a year at exact locations on specific beaches in order to document any changes in the beach slope, substrate and biodiversity. Jane looks on as Gene and John take the profile poles and begin to survey the elevation as Margo gets ready to record their measurements and check off on a field data sheet the substrates, seaweeds and seashore creatures found within each of their survey sections.Meanwhile, Corinne, Richard and I ready ourselves with our beach monitoring tools - quadrats and a bucket filled with flags, tape measure and species identification cards - so we can assess the species abundance along the predefined beach profile lines. Carefully we take measurements along this established profile line to determine the exact positioning for each of our quadrat frames.During each quadrat analysis, we identify and determine the percent of coverage of seaweeds and sea grasses and identify and count the number of invertebrates we find in each quadrat. Recording our findings on a field data sheet for later entry into the Beach Watcher monitoring database, we move on and do the same at the next set quadrat.
Along each transect where we placed the quadrats for our survey, we also monitor for burrowing bivalves and related infauna by digging a section the size of one of our transects one shovel depth deep. Working together, our team carefully examines the removed beach material and identified the burrowing critters we found before returning that removed beach material to the hole we made.
With GPS in hand, Richard and I work together to collect the coordinates for each of our quadrat placements for later mapping by Gene. With the species identification cards in hand, we identify this piece of brown seaweed found in a nearby tide pool.

Follow us during our beach monitoring at Semiahmoo.

Another successful beach monitoring at Semiahmoo thanks to Beach Watchers Gene, Jane, John, Margo, Corinne, Richard and Rose. What a team!


  1. cool, you do wonderful things!

  2. This is great!


    WSU Whatcom County Extension
    Beach Watchers
    Shore Stewards
    1000 N. Forest Street #201
    Bellingham WA 98225



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