WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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“Citizen Science” on the environment offered during ocean bird survey training – volunteers needed

Volunteers who would like to play a role in “citizen science” by helping to survey for beached birds on the Oregon coast are invited to a free training session to be held in Lincoln City on Sunday, July 15. The event takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Lincoln City Cultural Center 540 Hwy 101, just north of the D-River Beach Wayside.

Sponsors of the presentation are the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), which conducts a volunteer-based beached bird monitoring project in five states, and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, which serves as COASST’s Oregon partner.

Participants in the survey help to glean information that scientists use to gauge environmental health, by collecting data on beach-cast carcasses of marine birds on a monthly basis to establish the baseline pattern of beached bird mortality on North Pacific beaches. Data collected helps address important marine conservation issues that can lead to improved protection of marine resources.

COASST’s Charlie Wright will lead the interactive, hands-on workshop. Prospective volunteers will learn how to use the custom COASST field guide, “Beached Birds,” and have a chance to try out their newly acquired identification skills on seabird species common to Oregon.

Wright is COASST’s seabird data verifier. His primary role with the organization is to examine thousands of volunteer-submitted beached bird photos to assure the accuracy of the reports. He has done bird-related field work in New Hampshire and Idaho, and worked with seabirds, raptors, and songbirds in the Gulf of Alaska.

COASST is a citizen science project of the University of Washington in partnership with state, tribal, and federal agencies, environmental organizations such as Oregon Shores, and community groups. Currently, almost 700 volunteers survey more than 350 beaches around the Pacific. COASST is seeking to establish new survey locations on the central Oregon coast.

There will be a short break in the middle of the session for lunch. Participants can bring their own sack lunch, or purchase food in the area. It would be helpful in planning the session if those who plan to attend would RSVP by calling COASST at (206) 221-6893 or by e-mailing coasst@uw.edu. For more information on COASST, go to http://depts.washington.edu/coasst/.

CoastWatch, which assists with the beached bird survey, is a program through which volunteers adopt one-mile segments of the shoreline and keep watch for both natural changes and human impacts. Some CoastWatchers monitor for beached birds on their adopted miles, some work with other COASST volunteers elsewhere on the coast. New volunteers are needed for both programs.

For more information about CoastWatch, contact Phillip Johnson, CoastWatch Director, (503) 754-9303, phillip@oregonshores.org.

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