Marine Debris Survey

May 5, 2019 - 10:00 AM
Fort Stevens State Park
Hammond, OR

 A previous survey taking place at the Fort Stevens site.\Photo by Ed Joyce.
A previous survey taking place at the Fort Stevens site.\Photo by Ed Joyce.

CoastWatch has inaugurated a new site for our marine debris survey, which takes place at numerous sites along the coast.  The new location is at Fort Stevens State Park, just south of the Columbia’s South Jetty.  More volunteers are needed. 

In honor of Rise Above Plastics Month in Oregon, we’re doing something special for the next survey, taking place Sunday, May 5, at 10 p.m.  Fawn Custer, until just lately CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator and still our citizen science trainer, will be on hand, both to provide instructions in marine debris monitoring and to lead a beachwalk devoted to shoreline ecology (the very ecosystem being harmed by the plastic debris!).  The event is free and open to everyone, whether to volunteer for this survey, learn about marine debris monitoring in general, or simply follow Fawn down the shore to learn about coastal natural history.

Meet at 10 a.m. at Parking Lot B, about three-quarters of a mile south of the Columbia on Jetty Rd. in Fort Stevens State Park.  Whether traveling north or south on Hwy 101, turn west on Ridge Road and follow the signs within the park.

As with all CoastWatch’s marine debris survey sites, the survey is conducted monthly, to supply consistent data.  New volunteers are needed to fill out a team headed by Oregon Shores board member Ed Joyce that will conduct the survey at this site. We seek to organize a large enough team that some members can be there every month.

Everyone is welcome to participate in this citizen science project, CoastWatchers and non-CoastWatchers alike.  While the goal is to recruit volunteers who will participate at this site, anyone is welcome to participate on this occasion simply to learn the ropes and consider getting involved, either here or perhaps at another site.  Instructions and materials will be provided.

These monthly surveys are conducted according to a protocol developed by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the data collected is used by scientists studying the marine debris problem. 

Although we continue to learn more and more about marine debris, there are still many unanswered questions. These include unknowns such as which types of debris are most common in a certain area?  Or, how is the problem of marine debris changing over time, and are our efforts to prevent debris effective? NOAA’s Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) helps answer these questions and others by collecting baseline data. The data collected through this project can be used to evaluate the impacts of marine debris along our coastlines and can help inform future marine debris mitigation and prevention efforts on a local, regional, and national scale.

Go here for more information on this citizen science effort.

For more information on the upcoming survey event or plans for the Fort Stevens survey site, contact Ed Joyce, (503) 468-0995, [email protected].