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Programs | Coast Watchers
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Coast Watchers registration is now closed for the 2021 monitoring season

Coast Watchers Community Science Program

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 one agency alone. This is where the role of citizen scientists becomes crucial in recording changes to our coast.

What is a community scientist?: "an individual who voluntarily contributes their time, effort, and resources toward scientific research in collaboration with professional scientists or alone. These individuals don't necessarily have a formal science background” (, 2020). The success of the Coast Watchers program relies on these dedicated and reliable volunteer community scientists to remain successful and provide valuable long-term data set.

Since 2005, Coast Watchers has been a major program of the Lake Huron Coastal Centre, 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.

What do I do as a Coast Watcher?

  • Choose a section of beach in your area to collect information once per week.

  • Report observations and readings on the Coast Watchers mobile application

  • The Coastal Centre compiles the data into our long-term dataset for lake-wide monitoring

Coast Watchers Monthly Check-ins


Check-ins are offered at 5:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month during the monitoring season (May-Oct). This is an optional 30-minute meeting for Coast Watchers and newcomers to ask the program coordinator questions and to meet the other volunteers.

Covering the Coast
 Click Map to see 2023 Monitoring Locations

2023 Map of Coast Watchers Monitoring Locations.JPG

Data Highlights

Collected by Coast Watchers in 2022

Human Activity

Figure 1 is represented by a tree map of human activities recorded along the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay shoreline from May 2022 to October 2022. The larger the box, the higher the number of recorded data points for the corresponding activity. The burgundy box with 456 data points represents motorized water activities. The dark blue box with 105 data points represents motorized vehicles on the beach.


Coastal Air and Water Temperature

Figure 2 is a compares air and water temperature (degrees Celsius) measurements recorded by volunteers from May 1st, 2022 to October 31st, 2022.

Wind Speed

Figure 3 compares average wind speed (km/h) and maximum wind speed (km/h) recorded by volunteers from May 1st, 2022 to October 3oth, 2022.

Coastal Temperature Graph.jpg
Human Activities Graph.jpg
Wind speed graph.jpg

Funding generously provided by:

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