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  A PHOTO FROM RECENT REPORTS
Mile 255 — Tillamook County, Kiwanda Beach 
 MORE ABOUT MILE 255  
bballentine — Very low tide, beach very wide. Pleasant day despite heavy cloud cover, some fog, and light mist at times. Debris on beach was mostly small fragments of plastic, very few bottles or styrofoam pieces ...   COMPLETE REPORT  
 Wed Feb 25, 10:40 AM   Sea star on beach
Location: At water edge on mile 255.
Copyright: no
 SHOW FULL SIZE PHOTO  
 OTHER RECENT COASTWATCH MILE REPORTS 
  ALERTS
 CoastWatch Citizen Science Projects Need More Volunteers
Training session for COASST beached bird survey.
CoastWatch has long sponsored several citizen science projects, such as the beached bird survey in which many mile adopters participate. Over the course of the past year, though, we have expanded the range of these projects. We now conduct seven citizen science projects. Through our "Community Engagement with Marine Reserves" project, we are developing a special project to focus citizen science surveys on the areas facing Oregon’s new marine reserves.
We have seven projects up and running. Some are well established, while a couple are just getting started. Some involve joining a team for a formal survey according to scientific protocols; others are simply a matter of CoastWatchers (and other interested citizens) increasing their vigilance for certain types of phenomena they may observe and knowing where to report the information.
To produce good information, while serving as a vehicle for public education about Oregon's marine resources, we'll need many more volunteers for all these projects. Even where we have solid teams already at work, we would like to expand the teams for greater long-term stability, and with many of these projects, we need more volunteers in more places in order to succeed in producing results. Volunteers could be CoastWatchers, other Oregon Shores members, or any interested community member. If you’ve been following this website or CoastWatch bulletins, you’ve already heard about these projects, but this is a reminder, along with a plea for fresh energy and involvement.
The citizen science projects include:
  • The beached bird survey, in which CoastWatch partners with COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, based at the University of Washington). This involves monthly surveys, using a formal protocol that produces genuine scientific data.
  • Marine debris monitoring, using a protocol developed by NOAA. This project also involves consistent monthly surveys and produces scientifically useful data. See this background paper for more information.
  • The sea star wasting syndrome survey, another project that utilizes a formal protocol (developed by PISCO, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) and produces scientific data. Go here for more details.
  • Marine mammal stranding, in cooperation with Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. This isn't a formal survey, but we actively train and encourage all CoastWatch mile adopters and other volunteers to report all stranded animals, alive or dead, and provide a form on our website that goes directly to the stranding network. This work produces data points for the stranding network.
  • "Beached marine critters" survey, using a protocol that provides an online means of recording observations of stranded sharks, squid, sea turtles and two species of fish. As with the marine mammal stranding network, this doesn't involve a systematic survey, but if enough volunteers know what to look for and file reports regularly, we will produce data points of use to scientists and resource agencies.
  • Invasive species: At present, this primarily involves species carried on tsunami debris, training volunteers in what to look for, how to handle it, and how to report it to scientists at the HMSC. Our goal is to expand training to include other types of invasives that can be observed on the shoreline, such as algae observed either in situ or in the driftline.
  • King Tide photography project, through which volunteers photograph the year's highest tides, both to demonstrate current conditions and to anticipate what will become ordinary tide levels with sea level rise. The year's project is currently underway; see elsewhere on this page for more information or go here.
CoastWatch will provide training for these various citizen science surveys on a continuing basis. To volunteer or for more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org.
 

  EVENTS
 Mark Your Calendars to ‘Share the Coast’
Marine mammal researcher Shea Steingass (shown here pursuing a different type of organism) will open the conference on Friday evening.
For the past eight years, CoastWatch has partnered with the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators to produce the Sharing the Coast Conference. This is a chance to absorb a great deal of background information relating to coastal science and natural history. The conference is designed to serve both CoastWatchers and other conservationists, and the teachers and interpreters who belong to NAME (of course, there is a good deal of overlap).
This year’s Sharing the Coast comes up March 13-15 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Please make plans to join us. Online registration has now begun:
tinyurl.com/STCC2015.
This year’s conference will include talks on everything from marine mammals to seabirds to marine debris, and information on citizen science projects ranging from plankton to sea stars to whales. Field trips will explore various aspects of citizen science.
The conference kicks off with a Friday evening talk that is free and open to all. Marine mammalogist Sheanna Steingass will discuss efforts by scientists to learn more about our marine mammal populations, including her own research on harbor seals and coastal ecology.
Our traditional Saturday evening party will feature food, libations, a mystery speaker and the usual cutthroat trivia game.
More details will appear on this site shortly. For now, mark your calendars and make it a priority to seize this opportunity to advance your CoastWatch skills. You can attend just the Friday evening presentation or the activities on Saturday or Sunday separately, but join us for the entire, packed weekend if you can.
 

  NEWS
 Observations Needed of Cassin’s Auklet ‘Wreck’
Beached auklet on mile 327. Photo by Brad Hill
For several months, beginning in October, the Oregon coast has been seeing a “wreck” (large-scale die-off) of Cassin’s auklets. When our “Sightings” piece (see below) was posted a month ago, the event was already prolonged. Yet the beached birds keep arriving, and the numbers increased dramatically in the wake of December storms, notably the one that took place Dec. 21. Other types of birds, too, were victims of the weather, but the Cassin’s auklet died in much higher numbers. Recent reports suggest that the peak numbers have declined, but significant numbers of the birds are still being reported.
Such die-offs take place periodically, typically tied to heavy storms, depleted food sources in the ocean, or a combination of the two. However, the reasons for the lengthy “wreck” of the auklets, and why conditions are singling out this particular species, are as yet unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Wildlife Health Center is currently conducting necropsies, seeking a specific cause. Sometimes, counter-intuitively, die-offs are the result of healthy, expanding populations—a certain number of birds, especially young of the year, don’t survive in any season, and if the population grows rapidly an upsurge in beached birds may simply be a normal level of mortality by percentage but in higher absolute numbers. On the other hand, something darker such as the effects of climate change could be at work.
The phenomenon is West Coast-wide, from British Columbia at least down to the vicinity of San Luis Obispo. But the epicenter is Oregon’s north coast. CoastWatcher Robert Ollikainen in a Dec. 26 report noted 126 dead auklets on Mile 289 (the tip of Bayocean Spit at Tillamook Bay), and another 121 on Mile 286. Large numbers of beached Cassin’s auklets are being reported from many Oregon sites in the COASST beached bird survey, in which CoastWatch participates.
CoastWatchers are urged to make a special effort to record beached birds on their miles during this period, to help build up observations of the extent of the “wreck.” This is an opportunity to serve as forward observers for scientists, and to help gather information about an important ecological phenomenon.
 

MORE NEWS...
 Oregon Shores Creates New Repository for Coastal Photos
As you may have noticed if you visit this website regularly, Oregon Shores uses a lot of photographs of the Oregon coast. We illustrate articles on this website, and we also use photos in newsletters and e-bulletins and in various other publications (for instance, CoastWatch handouts). We’re constantly searching for new images of the coast. Some we seek for their sheer beauty, but we have a ... MORE 
 Marine Debris Volunteers Needed More than Ever
The upsurge of marine debris we've been seeing this winter on Oregon’s shoreline, some of it from the Japanese tsunami and bearing potentially invasive organisms, is a reminder of the continued importance of monitoring for marine debris and cleaning it up. CoastWatchers have turned out for a number of special rapid response efforts to clean up debris that arrived in large quantities, and we need ... MORE 
  MILE REPORTS SINCE JAN 25 2015
  MILE 255  bballentine — Very low tide, beach very wide. Pleasant day despite heavy cloud cover, some fog, and light mist at times. Debris on beach was mostly small fragments of plastic, very few bottles or styrofoam pieces ...  MORE 
  MILE 288  YaakovM — Mid-winter day that seemed like spring. No people seen, a few birds, and the beach was, as usual, pretty clean. But there was a little more garbage than usual and there were several piles of debris ...  MORE 
  MILE 160  lightbug — With the effort of many volunteers we collected four heaping pickup loads of trash, including a hot water heater from a five mile stretch  MORE 
  MILE 156  Radioguy — I had been wondering how I could get all the trash off my mile of beach since it is relatively remote in an area where vehicles are not normally permitted. The Surfrider beach cleanup was a welcome ...  MORE 
  MILE 224  malachite — Beautiful day at the beach, cooler then the past few days have been. All dogs on beach under good control. I arrived at beach around 2:53 p.m., left the beach at 3:55 p.m. When I arrived, it was ...  MORE 
  MILE 203  nanumoore DISPATCH  — Large California sea lion cluster seen and heard in ocean on Mile 203 west of Sandpiper Village 2/17/15. According to Nancy Edwards who provided telescope viewing they formed a "Pacific Sea Lion ...  MORE 
  MILE 202  Unbound — Beautiful President's Day on the Bayshore near Waldport, OR. Enjoyed a very sunny day with record high temps. Noted approximately 20 humans on beach - one family flying kites and playing in the surf, ...  MORE 
  MILE 195  WetWabbit — It was a beautiful, sunny day, which, together with the 3-day weekend, drew a large crowd to the beach. There was nothing negative encountered except one dead bird, probably a Common Murre (see ...  MORE 
  MILE 198  bahngarten — 63' warm balmy sunny day in February! Wind moderate from NE. 20 people enjoying the beaches, on long holiday weekend. Lots of broken sand dollar and razor clam shells, small pebbles and sticks ...  MORE 
  MILE 168  PhotoJim — A lot less trash in the south section. A fair of amount of drift wood that is mostly covered by sand, see attached photo. The skid, picture attached is about 1/4 mile south of the parking lot 3 ...  MORE 
  MILE 222  dderickson — It was a beautiful, mild but windy, sunny day. I counted the largest number of people and dogs that I have seen since adopting this mile. A Bald eagle was circling over the beach. The beach was very ...  MORE 
  MILE 208  Batthecat — Concerned about proximity to the edge of the cliff of yellow house, as noted previously. Photos taken 2/4/15 (those from front of house), and 2/12/15, with comparison photos taken 1/26/15. Have been ...  MORE 
  MILE 185  lfleming — A lovely day with no wind but very quiet and a bit dull with no sea stars, where we were used to seeing hundreds, and very few birds because of all the sea foam. It was so thick we couldn't get to ...  MORE 
  MILE 335  srhoads — The day was clam, warm and cloudy. Only observed 3 cars, which includes mine. One lady collecting driftwood and one man sitting in his car smoking. Tide was midway-coming in (1:00pm). Kelp ...  MORE 
  MILE 293  stu&barb — About as good as it gets in February...mid 50's & calm...a most pleasant day! Beach was pretty clean, but still managed to fill a kitchen garbage bag full with plastic, rope, bottles and Styrofoam. ...  MORE 
  MILE 10  SMathis — No apparent modifications or other changes.  MORE 
  MILE 203  nanumoore — This was a quiet day on the beach with little human activity. Very little trash noted. New boards placed at South Beach access. There did not appear to be any new bird deaths, although the salmon and ...  MORE 
  MILE 111  TRBishop — A record breaking warm day and one of those beautiful January winter breaks that typically arrive to keep us all from killing each other. . .many people (and almost as many dogs) out to take ...  MORE 
  MILE 311  HistoryLover — Healthy and clean beach. Almost no man-made trash. No inappropriate use.  MORE 
  MILE 183  RMSherriffs — Some shells on wet sand, no debris in rocks near bluff. Five dogs with walkers well with people who were walking.  MORE 
CoastWatch, a citizen monitoring program, engages Oregonians in personal stewardship over their shoreline. Volunteers adopt mile-long segments of Oregon's coast, keeping watch for natural changes and human-induced impacts, reporting on their observations, and sounding the alarm about threats and concerns.

CoastWatch is founded on individual vigilance and responsibility for one portion of the ocean shore. But the program also links hundreds of 'mile adopters' in a coastwide network of concerned citizens taking action to conserve shoreline resources. CoastWatchers serve as an early warning system not only for the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, but also for neighbors along their miles, local government, regulatory agencies and other conservation groups.