Fieldwork for COASST Bird Surveys Resumes

With a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our COASST fieldwork.

COVID-19's Impact on our COASST Fieldwork

In a way, it’s hard to believe that we’re still having to deal with COVID-19. I remember the day when our governor (Washington State) announced a list of business closures. It just so happens we got the news while driving home after one of our COASST bird surveys. Our monthly fieldwork we do for the COASST program is something we look forward to. 

At the time if felt as if this would be something we had to endure for a couple of weeks. Little did I realize that months would go by with our National Parks closed. And even though the park in which we conduct our survey is open the campground where we set up base camp is not.

However, with a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our surveys. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we headed out on the trail which eventually deposits us on our beach. Nature is blissfully unaware of our human plight, but we have seen big changes in our section of the beach due to storms and such.

Things were pretty much as we had left them. The vista was as awe-inspiring as ever and we found our landmarks without issue. One of the things we monitor ever survey is the presence of people. How many we see, etc. There certainly was an uptick in the number we crossed during our survey, but while maintaining social distancing, it was actually nice to engage in a bit of conversation with others!

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.

Maybe Not

As I sit here and think about that last sentence I realize it’s probably incorrect. I think Nature is very much aware of our plight. It seems seas are less noise and marine life is doing noticeably better in many areas. Air quality is much better in many urban areas. The list goes on.

For the naysayers who doubt the impact of humans on our planet perhaps they’ll rethink their position. But maybe not.

With a bit of creative problem solving we’ve gotten back out in the field to conduct our COASST fieldwork.

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Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
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Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
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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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. ...

Finding a new location for our fieldwork base

Perhaps the biggest impact on our conducting surveys, besides the park suspending our collection permits, was that closure of the Quileute Oceanside Resort where we made our basecamp. Not only was it a great place to camp but it was also very close to the trailhead leading out to Toleak Beach. As I write this they’re still closed. Point-in-fact, the entire reservation is closed to the public.

Hipcamp to the rescue. If you’re not familiar with Hipcamp, it’s very much like Airbnb; people with land allowing members to camp on that land. It like our Washington State Parks, some are full of amenities, while others are just bare bones. It pays to do your research.

The issue we had been facing was that in the past there weren’t really any options out in the Forks, La Push area. However, that’s no longer the case and I’ve found a couple not far from Forks. We booked a stay at a local site and found it to be very conducive to our needs. (note: as of this article, I’m no longer seeing that site listed. If she comes back online I’ll amend the article with a link.)

Now we just need to see what fall and it’s effect on the COVID-19 virus has in store for us.

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