Event Title

Citizen science demonstrates need and importance at Whatcom County beaches

Presentation Abstract

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is a volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program of the Surfrider Foundation. The purpose is to engage citizen scientists in monitoring pollution and provide pollution prevention awareness at popular marine recreation areas. The Northwest Straits (NWS) Chapter samples monthly at six sites in the Bellingham Bay area for enterococcus, an indicator bacteria. Whatcom County often has beach closures throughout the summer due to poor water quality that does not meet the federal standards for recreation. One such location is Little Squalicum Beach, which has a permanent swimming advisory due to high bacteria levels. The NWS Chapter continues to sample the site monthly, often finding the highest hits during the summer season possibly due to the dog park that is up watershed. The chapter is partnering with local organizations such as RE Sources for Sustainable Communities to mitigate bacteria pollution from the dogs with programs such as Poop Patrols. Chapter members also volunteer for the Department of Ecology’s BEACH Program, monitoring two sites with high use and high hits of bacteria at Little Squalicum and Larrabee State Park. Larrabee State Park is a recent success story for BWTF, open in 2017 for swimming for the first time in over 6 years thanks to collaborative efforts of water quality monitoring and public outreach. The goal for BWTF at Little Squalicum is for the water quality levels to improve enough to allow the public to swim and recreate safely again at one of Bellingham’s favorite beaches. The chapter plans to use methods applied at Larrabee along with Poop Patrols to reach our goal: consistent sampling, increase public awareness, shift behaviors, and build partnerships with local organizations to ensure we can effectively get Little Squalicum back to a beach that is clean and safe for swimming.

Session Title

Posters: Data & Information Management

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-45

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Citizen science demonstrates need and importance at Whatcom County beaches

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is a volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program of the Surfrider Foundation. The purpose is to engage citizen scientists in monitoring pollution and provide pollution prevention awareness at popular marine recreation areas. The Northwest Straits (NWS) Chapter samples monthly at six sites in the Bellingham Bay area for enterococcus, an indicator bacteria. Whatcom County often has beach closures throughout the summer due to poor water quality that does not meet the federal standards for recreation. One such location is Little Squalicum Beach, which has a permanent swimming advisory due to high bacteria levels. The NWS Chapter continues to sample the site monthly, often finding the highest hits during the summer season possibly due to the dog park that is up watershed. The chapter is partnering with local organizations such as RE Sources for Sustainable Communities to mitigate bacteria pollution from the dogs with programs such as Poop Patrols. Chapter members also volunteer for the Department of Ecology’s BEACH Program, monitoring two sites with high use and high hits of bacteria at Little Squalicum and Larrabee State Park. Larrabee State Park is a recent success story for BWTF, open in 2017 for swimming for the first time in over 6 years thanks to collaborative efforts of water quality monitoring and public outreach. The goal for BWTF at Little Squalicum is for the water quality levels to improve enough to allow the public to swim and recreate safely again at one of Bellingham’s favorite beaches. The chapter plans to use methods applied at Larrabee along with Poop Patrols to reach our goal: consistent sampling, increase public awareness, shift behaviors, and build partnerships with local organizations to ensure we can effectively get Little Squalicum back to a beach that is clean and safe for swimming.