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!

Wild and scenic rivers

wild and scenic rivers project a huge success

As a team, we more than tripled the amount of data to date. We’ve received 573 completed surveys from 91 rivers this year, compared to 183 surveys from 41 rivers in 2020.

We’re proud to have been a part of this effort! We’re working on articles and videos so stay tuned. 

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. 

COASST

Latest Instagram

Enjoying a bit of warmth on a cold clear winter's evening on the Olympic Coast. We don't get many days like this in the winter. ...

Setting up camp at Toleak Beach on the Washington coast. We took advantage of the clear but cold winter weather and hiked in the day before our #COASST bird survey. ...

Snug Harbor Cannery on the southern half of Chisik Island. I spent a few years guiding out of the Alaskan treasure. ...

Just published our latest adventure - Hit and Run at Bear Creek - You can find the link in my bio up top. ...

At the mouth of the Columbia River stands the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Still active, she’s been guiding mariners since 1856. ...

A multitude of grey defines Lake Crescent during our latest #COASST survey. ...

The old Navy torpedo warehouse located on the grounds of Washington’s Manchester State Park. ...

While out dodging the rain showers, came across this beautiful Amanita muscaria near camp. The cap was a big as a dinner plate! ...

During our recent science trip to Suiattle River for the Wild and Scenic River Project, we were treated to these wonderful views. Here we're enjoying the winter's day with Mt. Baker in the background. ...

Our collection site for the Wild and Scenic River project. We grabbed river samples as well as tested ph, dissolved O2 and other data points. Turned out to be a great day in the field. ...

Heading out to start the Winter series of collection for the Wild and Scenic River project for Adventure Scientist. ...

These Nootka Rose caught my eye in camp this morning. Sitting here enjoying the fire listening to the geese overhead as they fly south. ...

Bear Canyon just outside Morton Washington is a little pocket of pristine wilderness. ...

Theresa doing her best to imitate the North Head Lighthouse. ...

A bridge span over the Green River. I love the contrast between the texture of the bridge and the fall colors of the background. ...

Here's a sunset from our recent #COASST bird survey at First Beach. The next day it poured rain. I measured over two inches just that afternoon. ...

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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