September 29th 2016
Voluteers around Ireland have for the last week been scouring our coasts all in the name of citizen science.
It marks the start of the annual Coastwatch survey which hopes to get 2,000 volunteers to walks a patch of coast and get a picture of what is there.
The good news is that there is still an opportunity it get involved. The survey runs until October 15th.
Here Coastwatch explain what is involved:
Volunteers are needed from all walks of life including families, politicians, staff on a team building or community help day, surfers, bathers, fishermen, schools and scouts, farmers with coastal land, seaweed harvesters and dog walkers. To participate just google ‘Coastwatch survey’– or follow this link http://coastwatch.org/europe/ Volunteers can select survey areas on an interactive map and then plan their roughly 1 hour fieldwork.
What it involves: a once off eco-audit of that area around low tide, checking it from land to the water’s edge. Survey questions are answered while on the shore with ID posters and guide notes to help. Materials can be downloaded or hard copies provided by Coastwatch coordinators. Water quality test kits are also available and the Coastwatch team will help with training and any queries. A new micro litter app is designed to record type and location of visible micro litter like plastic beads and filaments. Details how to download are also on the website.
Special initiatives in this year’s survey:
HIGH NATURE VALUE AREAS: Set habitats with focus on the big brown seaweeds and locations including X-border Carlingford Lough, Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve, Waterford Estuary, Cork Harbour and Galway Bay.
A 3 prong LITTER ATTACK: 1. Coastwatchers alert us if they identify areas to prioritise for clean ups because of the amount or kind of litter; 2. A new micro litter app is available to download to get an impression of visible micro litter – like plastic pellets, flakes and filaments – on the shore. These make nature sick and ultimately us at the top of the food chain. 3. Action based on 1 and 2 – Clean ups and a push for preventative measures including substitution of most offending materials like polystyrene.