Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Shoreline Monitoring: Citizen Science, Restoration Effectiveness, and Data Integration

Description

The Northwest Straits Foundation’s mission is to protect and restore the health of the marine ecosystem by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative. We achieve this mission partly through restoration of nearshore habitats, focusing on shoreline armoring removal and shoreline riparian restoration.

Effective monitoring is critical to measuring the success of restoration actions, and monitoring results help guide future restoration and adaptive management strategies. Often times the scope of restoration monitoring is limited by funding made available for monitoring activities. Therefore, it is imperative to execute all monitoring activities as inexpensively as possible, while maintaining scientific integrity and building more support for funding of monitoring activities. Engaging private citizens in shoreline restoration monitoring achieves both of these goals.

The Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners have created a flourishing citizen science monitoring program which spans several counties and several nearshore restoration projects. Key components of the program are: site specific hypothesis driven monitoring plans; data collection protocols designed for citizen scientists; systematic training and quality control provided by professionals; efficient data storage; annual data analysis and reporting; and constant volunteer appreciation.

While implementing an effective monitoring program is not without expense, the ability to engage often highly educated citizens to collect quality data reduces the cost of data collection considerably and brings other, less quantifiable benefits to our programs. Since 2014, the Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners have tracked 1,179 volunteer hours devoted to monitoring 6 restoration projects across three counties. Because more than 70% of shoreline in Washington’s Salish Sea is owned by private landowners, engaging the community in active shoreline restoration monitoring has the added benefit of influencing public perception of the function, purpose, and benefits of shoreline restoration.

Comments

Keywords: Citizen Science, Restoration Monitoring, Volunteers, Monitoring, Northwest Straits Foundation, Collaboration, Monitoring Program, Engagement

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Developing a Citizen Science Monitoring Program

2016SSEC

The Northwest Straits Foundation’s mission is to protect and restore the health of the marine ecosystem by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative. We achieve this mission partly through restoration of nearshore habitats, focusing on shoreline armoring removal and shoreline riparian restoration.

Effective monitoring is critical to measuring the success of restoration actions, and monitoring results help guide future restoration and adaptive management strategies. Often times the scope of restoration monitoring is limited by funding made available for monitoring activities. Therefore, it is imperative to execute all monitoring activities as inexpensively as possible, while maintaining scientific integrity and building more support for funding of monitoring activities. Engaging private citizens in shoreline restoration monitoring achieves both of these goals.

The Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners have created a flourishing citizen science monitoring program which spans several counties and several nearshore restoration projects. Key components of the program are: site specific hypothesis driven monitoring plans; data collection protocols designed for citizen scientists; systematic training and quality control provided by professionals; efficient data storage; annual data analysis and reporting; and constant volunteer appreciation.

While implementing an effective monitoring program is not without expense, the ability to engage often highly educated citizens to collect quality data reduces the cost of data collection considerably and brings other, less quantifiable benefits to our programs. Since 2014, the Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners have tracked 1,179 volunteer hours devoted to monitoring 6 restoration projects across three counties. Because more than 70% of shoreline in Washington’s Salish Sea is owned by private landowners, engaging the community in active shoreline restoration monitoring has the added benefit of influencing public perception of the function, purpose, and benefits of shoreline restoration.