Citizen Science Monitoring Programs
Community-based coastal monitoring is a key strategy to address our mission of fostering responsible interactions with our natural surroundings. We are involved in several programs that share the goal of developing citizen scientists (of all ages) who will become engaged in stewardship of diverse and productive coastal habitats and watersheds.
KACHEMAK BAY COASTWALK. Now in its 38th year, we have sponsored the annual shoreline survey effort to document changes in the physical and biological environment of our local shorelines along with the impacts of human activities. Learn more>>
COMMUNITY-BASED COASTAL MONITORING. The Kachemak Bay CoastWalk program has been developed as a model for community involvement in the Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration program with a focus on the nearshore environment. Learn more>>
BEACH CLEAN-UPS. Removal of litter and marine debris have been an important stewardship activity during the annual CoastWalk. From 2006 through 2011, we participated in a NOAA grant-funded effort to expand our marine debris clean-up and prevention efforts to other Alaska communities. Since 2006, CACS has received funding off and on from the NOAA Community-based Marine Debris Clean-up and Prevention Program. We have also had support from our local community businesses through sponsorships and donations. This support allows us to continue to conduct our annual CoastWalk, provide in-class presentations on issues relating to marine debris and stewardship to over 300 students annually, upgrade our coastal monitoring protocols, involve communities from around Alaska in marine debris clean-up programs, enhance our data collecting ability by adding an on-line data entry capability and much more.
Marine Invertebrate and Seaweed Communities. Alaska CoastWatch data collection protocols include indicators of abundance and diversity of these important biological communities. Protocols will be developed to report unusual occurrences, observations of suspected marine invasives, and unusual mortality events.
Seabirds. Monitoring beachcast seabirds has provided valuable information on seabird mortality factors to University of Washington scientists studying these important indicators of ecosystem health. We are a local sponsor of a pilot project to expand a long-term, successful citizen-monitoring program from Washington and Oregon to Alaska. To learn more about the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, go to http://www.coasst.org.
Sea Otters. Kachemak Bay is a key area a mortality study on the northern sea otter. The Alaska CoastWatch program will include data collection protocols for dead sea otters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides training for volunteers to participate in collection of dead sea otters and their parts for the on-going mortality study.
Kachemak Crane Watch. Sandhill Cranes are a favorite of both Homer locals and Visitors and The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has teamed with Kachemak Crane Watch to make the tracking and recording of these charismatic birds easy for everyone. There is now a web app which you can find here, as well as a mobile option available on android as Kachemak Crane Watch the App to report sightings.
Click here for additional resources for Alaska Coastal Communities.