COVID-19 And The Last Beached Bird Survey?

So just what are we to do with our citizen-science projects when COVID-19 derails the best-laid plans?

Last Beached Bird Survey

This March we headed back out to La Push and the Olympic National Park to conduct our monthly COASST beached bird survey. This time of the year, you never know what kind of weather you’ll encounter, but it looked like Mother Nature was going to give us a break. We had perfect weather for the survey; cool and sunny.

What we weren’t counting on was how quickly the COVID-19 virus was going to spread through the Puget Sound corridor of Washington and the impact it would ultimately have on families and businesses in our area…and the impact on the various science projects we participate with.

I might have taken a little more time to savor this special ‘wild place’ had I known it was going to be the last survey for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t until we were on the long drive home that we started hearing about the closures in our state. As the day went on the list grew longer and longer.

By the end of that week, I was furloughed and as I write this it’s uncertain when I’ll be resuming my role as Senior Database Administrator. Things are looking up as the projected peak has been slowly shifting to the left and, at least for Washington State, seems to have passed. That’s the good news, but it’s to be seen how long the ‘shelter-at-home’ will be active.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

COVID-19

There doesn’t seem much need to go in all the details of this virus as there’s plenty of news being thrown at us from all directions. But what do we know about this virus and how can we as citizen-scientists help combat it?

Here’s a link to Coronavirus 101: What you need to know.

It has stopped our going out into the field as that would require us interacting with people in a support role to get to the backcountry. And here in Washington public lands are currently closed.

But that doesn’t mean we can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Here are some sites where you can use this time at home to help solve this crisis:

 

So just what are we to do with our citizen-science projects when COVID-19 derails the best-laid plans?

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Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
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Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

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Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

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Latest Instagram

Looking down on our campground from atop Tower Rock. It's a straight 2000' straight drop from here. ...

Driving up to Mosquito Meadows I noticed a dark shadow and gap just off the forest road. This small but picturesque waterfall on Pinto Creek was the reward for pulling off to investigate.⁠ ...

Heading out to Gifford Pinchot National Forest to explore a few new areas. ...

After a week of sitting on the shoreline waiting for the weather on Augustine Island and her volcano, we finally had our chance to paddle over to the mainland. Fortune smiled at us that day! ...

A kayaker making his way across Coldwater Lake with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the background. ...

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River and still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. ...

This root was near our campsite. I was intrigued because it looks like an entire forest wrapped around it. ...

Mt. St. Helens seen from Windy Ridge. ...

Cispus River with Tower Rock in the background. Our camp was locate on the banks of the river. ...

River bank of the Cispus River inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. ...

Headed back to Mt. St. Helens for the weekend. Hoping to visit some of our favorite places as well as discover new ones. ...

Buck Creek is one of the many waterways that feed the Suiattle River. We spotted this view during our last Wild and Scenic Rivers fieldwork. ...

During our recent Wild and Scenic River Survey we had the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. Here's Buck Creek which drains into the Suiattle River. ...

Theresa taking a sample for the Wild and Scenic Rivers project with Adventure Scientist. We'll be heading out to the Suiattle River this weekend for another round of data. ...

Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

Uncertain Future

It’s hard to tell when we’ll be able to resume our projects. Long before the ‘shelter-at-home’ order went into effect we decided to halt our trips. There were three major factors that weighed in our decision;

  1. We were in the high-risk age bracket.
  2. Although we would be isolated while in the back-country, we would have to interact with people during supplies runs, fueling, etc. It seemed irresponsible to subjecting ourselves and others.
  3. It seemed disrespectful to the health caregivers who risked their lives and suffering such hardships while we continued doing what we loved.

Currently, it looks like our state has a projected 0-death day around May 10th. With any luck, life will start to return to normal shortly thereafter. When it does will be back out there doing what we can to contribute to science and conservation.

Stay healthy and safe everyone!

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