Training for Beachgrass Survey

May 11, 2021 - 10:00 AM
Bob Straub State Park
Pacific City, OR
CoastWatch, Oregon State University

Hybrid beachgrass in flower.\Photo by Rebecca Mostow.

CoastWatch cooperates with Oregon State University scientists conducting a survey for a new, hybrid beachgrass spreading on the northern Oregon coast.  We have held volunteer trainings for this citizen science project online during the past year, but pandemic restrictions blocked field trips.  As these restrictions have eased, we finally have the opportunity to offer field trainings.

Rebecca Mostow, the OSU doctoral candidate who is leading the study of this new hybrid, will lead training sessions on Tuesday, May 11 at Bob Straub State Park and on Saturday, May 29 at Fort Stevens State Park.  Both sessions run from 10 a.m.-noon.

To quote Rebecca on the project:

“Help us map the range of a brand new hybrid beachgrass! Non-native beachgrasses play a large role in building the sand dunes of the Oregon and Washington coasts. Two closely related species, European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) and American beachgrass (A. breviligulata), were intentionally introduced to the Pacific Northwest to stabilize these shifting sand environments and now dominate the dune ecosystems. A recently discovered hybrid between these two species has been found at 17 sites between Pacific City, OR and Ocean Shores, WA. We want to know how much of this hybrid is on our beaches so that we can understand its invasive potential and possible impacts on dune shape and ecosystem services. But the coast is too big for one person to survey (believe me, I tried!) so we're harnessing the power of participatory science to tackle this big question! At this training, you'll learn how dunes are built, why beachgrasses matter, and how to identify common dune plants including the non-native beachgrasses and their hybrid.”

For more on the citizen science project, go to

The field trip begins at the Bob Straub State Park parking lot.  Cross the Nestucca River from central Pacific City on the Pacific Ave. bridge, then turn left on Sunset Dr. to reach the parking lot. 

For more information on this or other CoastWatch citizen science projects, contact Jesse Jones, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, (503) 989-7244, [email protected].