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Citizen Science

Whatcom and Skagit County Aquatic Reserves

The Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committees are volunteer citizen committees dedicated to preservation and protection of their respective aquatic reserves. The committees conduct education and citizen science programs and review and comment on proposals that may impact the reserves. The committees meet monthly on the first Wednesday of the month at 3 PM and 6 PM, respectively. Learn more on their websites at Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve.
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Forage Fish of the Salish Sea

Check out this new video about forage fish, featuring members of the Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee! Conserving and enhancing forage fish populations is just one of the many focuses of the Aquatic Reserves.

Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Forum

The Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee hosts an annual forum. Topics and presentations include:

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 survey work performs 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. 

Check out the 2016 schedule of intertidal surveys.


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. 

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