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Take CoastWatch Challenge: Do a Bioblitz at an Oregon Coast Beach

Published 09/19/22 at 6:45 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Take CoastWatch Challenge: Do a Bioblitz at an Oregon Coast Beach

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(Oregon Coast) - Along the entire Oregon coast, a community science project will soon be underway, and it needs volunteers from the public. It's called the CoastWatch Fall Challenge, and this bioblitz runs from September 23 through October 2, where the average Joe (or Josephine) gets in on the act by heading to the beach, using the iNaturalist app and making some observations about wildlife and other natural aspects of any kind of shoreline. Sandy beaches, dunes, near-shore estuaries to rocky shelf areas, you utilize the app there to help out organizers from CoastWatch and Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition. (Above: Neskowin, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

It's not unlike the do-it-yourself bioblitzes that happened during the pandemic: there were no nature experts out there to help you. These bioblitzes are the same, except there's an app. You look around, note what creatures and plants are around, and enter them into the app interface.

The entire Oregon coast is the focus of this project: from Brookings and the California border to Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River. Organized by CoastWatch, the group wants to motivate the public to continue learning about the beaches and shorelines they love so much, while also helping out the world of science by checking out its “wild occupants,” as the group put it.

Using the app, you'll look at animals, plants and algae – and that includes tidepool life. You'll get help in ID'ing them there. CoastWatch Fall Challenge should provide experts with an idea about the health and ecological makeup of the region.

“Don't forget to explore and discover wildlife in any or all of our five amazing Marine Reserves, eight Marine Gardens and dozens of State Park beaches,” CoastWatch said on the project website.

Inspired by California's Snapshot Cal Coast, Coastwatch utilized some of the approaches from the California Academy of Sciences. That two-week-long event has been annual one for years. Here, they want to get a snapshot of biodiversity of the Oregon coast.

This event is the first of its kind that is coastwide (though smaller ones are held periodically), and CoastWatch organizers are hoping it will continue on through the years. Besides that, it will hopefully motivate the public to enter info into the app at any time during the year.

See the project site here, then sign up to help out as well as download the app.

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