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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Theresa is looking downstream at Murhat Falls. This waterfall is easy to drive to and an easy hike in the Olympic National Forest. ...

Skate Creek runs alongside Forest Road 52 in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was just one of the many photographic sites that can be accessed from the road. ...

Murhut Falls and its pool are nestled in the Olympic National Forest, not far from Dosewallips State Park. ...

Winter storm making landfall just south of Cape Flattery. This part of the Pacific Northwest can see some powerful storms. ...

An unnamed creek and a small waterfall that you can find along the Steam Donkey Loop trail, which starts within the Dosewallips State Park of Washington ...

Footsteps and a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. ...

Early morning sunshine filtered through the trees and reflected off the upper portion of Murhut waterfall ...

Theresa sitting under Murhut Falls, enjoying the beauty of the forest. ...

Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. At one time, it appears to have been used by a homestead to hold water during the summer months. #washingtonstateparks ...

A photographer takes a photo and becomes the subject himself. ...

“How We Survived a Slight Derailment on Tower Rock” was published on our website. You'll find a gallery of all photographs in the article towards the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear your thoughts or comments. You can find our URL in the bio. ...

Low tide on Crescent Bay and reflections in the pools left behind. ...

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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