Community beach monitoring in Santa Barbara (the CoAST SB Project)

By | February 28, 2020

Sandy beaches are an important ecosystem Beaches are also the front lines of climate change impacts. Most notably sea-level rise So these will be the first things that are impacted There’s a whole food chain on these beaches and you know, it’s not just us that are using them So it’s really important to to gather as much knowledge as we can about these beaches to make sure that they are Here for us and the others that use them My name is Aaron Howard. I am a project manager for California Sea Grant and the current project I’m on now is CoAST SB project – the community alliance for serving the topography of sandy beaches The idea is to monitor sandy beaches as they change over time It provides knowledge to beach managers and decision-makers about how to best and most effectively manage our beaches Beach profiling is a measure of the surface contour of the beach from the landward edge to the shoreline and We measure the slope of the beach across the same transect line each time. This way we can track how that section of beach Changes from month to month over the years One of our volunteers, Kevin, has been serving with his wife and son for about two years now Well, I’m Kevin Parent And I’m a citizen scientist the Coast SB organization We decided to start volunteering Because we heard about this opportunity We really liked the idea of being citizen scientists – this idea that you’re part of the process That you’re not just hearing about these things But you’re connected to it as a family. We liked going down every month collecting our data Reporting our data and sort of feeling like we’re part of something bigger My son is involved with Santa Barbara high school and in the computer science Academy I thought, hey – wouldn’t be neat if these kids could build an app to record to date it and Get to work on a real-world project that makes them process more interesting more fun more accurate everybody benefits We share our data with the US Geological Survey and they only go out twice per year and so our goal is to supplement that by annual data with monthly surveys from volunteers coast SP is nice because People going out to do measurements in their backyard And do you think a lot more often than we can? And there’s areas where we don’t get good data and people can get out and do it for us. It’s fabulous It’s funny – we live here in Santa Barbara have done so for for a couple of decades And I’ve never gone to the beach more than I have with this process And then once you’re there you are reminded how beautiful it is We hear in the news every day that climate change is upon us It is critical as an ordinary citizen What can I do? Volunteering with CoAST SB allows me to actually be on the ground collecting the data about what’s happening it is my hope and belief that that data can be used by decision-makers to Change behaviors and if that can happen then this is all worthwhile You You

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