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Citizen Science

Become a citizen scientist and learn how you can contribute to scientific research for Puget Sound health! 

Citizen science is one of the most important tools used for managing and protecting the intertidal shorelines and plant and animal species at Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves.
Our free citizen science trainings will teach you how to identify, count and estimate plant and animal species in the intertidal zone, the area above water at low tide and under water at high tide. Once you've participated in a training, you can join our summer of intertidal surveys taking quantitative measures of plant and animal life and describe the slope and sediment on Whatcom and Skagit beaches. 

The surveys perform a vital function to determine baseline information, monitor for invasive species, and detect changes in the makeup of species as conditions change. Conducting this work using trained citizen volunteers means that more sites can be monitored and that citizens can better appreciate the application of the scientific method and the beach around them.

Training Resources

Here are some training materials that will help you become more proficient in intertidal monitoring. 

Quality Assurance Plan for Intertidal Biota MonitoringAssessment and monitoring methods are based on those established by the WSU Beach Watcher Intertidal Monitoring Program, with modifications to enhance the compatibility with other studies. 

Intertidal Monitoring Standard Operating ProcedurePlease be sure to read these instructions carefully before your first survey. 

Learn more about Intertidal Monitoring: Quick overview of intertidal monitoring, the Citizen Stewardship Committees, how citizen science is used, the location of monitoring sites, etiquette in the field, and more.

Field guides to species in the Cherry Point & Fidalgo Aquatic Reserves:
Presentations on identification:

Citizen Science Reports 

Here are the results of citizen science surveys at Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves from 2013-2014.

Bird Survey ReportOur findings are similar to those found previously by John Bower (2009). Our monitoring demonstrates the utility of citizen science and will add to the database showing abundance trends of these birds. In the event of an ecological disturbance, these data will be useful in monitoring any changes to bird abundances. 

Intertidal Biota Monitoring Report (Fidalgo) & Intertidal Biota Monitoring Report (Cherry Point): Intertidal monitoring at Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay was conducted in 2013 and 2014. We now have some baseline data which we will continue to build upon. Our baseline datal tells us  what organisms are commonly seen at out sites, and can alert us to changes in the ecology at the site and to the presence of invasive species. 

Decline of Sea Stars in Whatcom CountyAs part of our work on intertidal monitoring, we performed several sea star inventories at Cherry Point.