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Sandwatch: Citizen Science for Coastal Monitoring



Sandwatch: Citizen Science for Coastal MonitoringPart 3 in an East End Marine Park Series
by Hillary Lohmann, Friends of the East End Marine Park.

The East End Marine Park (EEMP) kicked off its Sandwatch beach profile program with the help its high school EcoCampers this past summer. Sandwatch is an international beach monitoring program that enables local community groups to observe, understand, and adaptively manage shorelines in the face of local and global changes in climate. It monitors ecological parameters like beach erosion (sand loss) and accretion (sand gains); water quality; sand sediments; water movement (currents and waves); and social parameters like human use and pollution.

The Sandwatch program is a great example of citizen science, where local groups participate in field work to record and report on their coastal environment. By identifying and monitoring threats facing our coastlines, participants also develop an understanding of ecosystem resilience and adaptation strategies for climate change and natural disasters. Sandwatch integrates sustainable development and ecosystem resilience into the learning and monitoring process. It is a user-friendly, hands-on approach to coastal management that empowers citizens to act for environmental awareness and change.

EcoCamp students from local high schools created a Sandwatch profile for Chenay Bay beach. Before EcoCamp, the USVI Sandwatch site had been dormant for years. EcoCamp provided baseline data for comparison with future reports on Chenay Bay and other beaches. EEMP plans to collect baseline Sandwatch data for other beaches adjacent to the Park by the end of the year, and to support the adoption of beaches for regular quarterly monitoring by local community groups. EEMP will use Sandwatch as a tool for Crucians to know more and care more for their beaches and coastal areas, while providing scientific data to inform local management decisions.

St. Croix East End Marine Park
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