Coast Watchers Community Volunteer Project
Lake Huron’s immense 6,170 km of shoreline is the longest of all the Great Lakes, and therefore cannot feasibly be monitored in detail by any one agency- This is where the role of citizen scientists becomes crucial in recording changes to our coast.
What is a citizen scientist?: "an individual who voluntarily contributes his or her time, effort, and resources toward scientific research in collaboration with professional scientists or alone. These individuals don't necessarily have a formal science background” (SciStarter.org, 2020). The success of the Coast Watchers program relies on these dedicated and reliable volunteer citizen scientists to remain successful and provide a valuable long-term data set.
Since 2005, Coast Watchers has been a major program through the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, designed to engage members of the community to take an active part in observing and improving the quality of our nearshore waters through individual actions. Community volunteers are trained to observe the coast, record qualitative and quantitative shoreline conditions, and take steps to initiate action when necessary, including beach clean-ups and habitat preservation.
Coast Watchers volunteers have become the eyes and ears of Lake Huron’s coast. With Coast Watcher volunteers collecting information methodically and consistently along the lakeshore, it will be possible to track conditions and trends long-term, and complete actions towards resiliency and sustainability in the short-term.
Programs | Coast Watchers
What do I do as a Coast Watcher?
You will choose a section of beach in your area to collect information once per week.
You will have recording sheets to document your observations.
You can record weekly, daily, or however frequently your schedule allows.
Each month you will submit the recorded information (by email or regular mail)
The Coastal Centre compiles the data into our long-term dataset for lake-wide monitoring.
Data collected by participants in past years
Wildlife Reports (2019)
185 individual wildlife observations were recorded over the 2019 season. 3,309 alive animals, 18 deceased animals, and 25 decomposing animals.
Community workshops can be organized to help educate local
residents and visitors about caring for the coast. Staff from the
Coastal Centre, and other organizations, will be available to
present information on the state of the lake and the different ways
individuals can participate by adopting best stewardship practices on their own properties.
Coast Watchers collect observational and measured data using training and equipment provided by the LHCCC