Invitation to launch of Coastwatch Autumn 2013 Survey Results

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You are warmly invited to join Coastwatch and Minister Phil Hogan in launching the Coastwatch Autumn 2013 All Ireland Survey Results.

The launch will be followed by a discussion of relevance to marine policy and law.

When: Wednesday 15 January
Where: Haughton Lecture Theatre, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin


10.40 – Registration with coffee (‘An Act in Time?’ Part 1) – Museum Building as signposted

11.00 – Welcome – Prof Biswajit Basu, Head of Department, Civil and Environmental Engineering TCD

11.05 – PART I – LAUNCH

Introduction – Coastwatch survey from Irish Times print and post to modern media and spawned Research projects. Karin Dubsky International Coordinator

11.10 – Results Launch – cutting the seaweed ribbon and address – Minister Phil Hogan TD

11.25 – All Ireland Results Summary. Karin Dubsky, Angel Duarte, Laëtitia Beschus, Coastwatch coord.

11.35 – A note on NI results – Monica McCard, Queens University and NI coordinator

11.45 – Kerry regional coordinator experience – Dr David Mc Cormack, Tralee Wetland Centre

11.50 – Run with Results – An Act in Time? Part II – Chrissie Poulter TCD Drama department.

12.00 – PART II Follow up Action and developments in coastal law and monitoring.

12.45 – Report Back and closing remarks.

12.45- 2.00 pm – light lunch

Regional Coordinators and those interested in planning Coastwatch 2014 survey and international coordinator event, please stay behind for 30 min. briefing and idea harvesting.
Key results

Erosion was listed as the number one threat by volunteers who carried out the Coastwatch survey around Ireland N and S last autumn. ‘Since 1987 when the survey started, these annual surveys have come up with erosion as top threat, yet successive governments have failed to create a coastal zone management frame or erosion policy.’ said Karin Dubsky, Coastwatch international coordinator.
The results for 498 survey sites of 500 m length – covered nature, litter, waste and pollution, threats, shore uses and values. They will be launched by Minister Phil Hogan and followed by discussion on the new Marine law – MSFD and citizen science.

The survey highlighted species changes on our shores. Jellyfish were more common than in any previous Coastwatch Ireland survey. The most northerly record of the warm water triggerfish was noted by surveyors in Lough Foyle and natterjack toad tadpoles were seen by volunteers in Kerry splahzone ponds. Nature appears to be responding to the abnormally long warm summer, which drove sea temperature up. These are the type of weather conditions and sea temperature changes predicted with climate change.

Waste and litter results provided a mixed picture. Despite of an increase in beach cleaning surveyors plastic bottle counts of 60 per kilometer of shore and an increase in fishing/angling litter. Some of the most exciting results were in new nature finds: Volunteers searching for special sensitive inshore habitats and species found Honeycomb worm reefs (Sabellaria) on even more sites than in any previous Coastwatch survey. These biogenic reef creations made of sand and body glue by pink little worms are very well camouflaged, but the reef is so unusual that once pointed out, volunteers will know what to look for. Surveyors sent photos to verify records which came from counties Wexford, Waterford, Kerry, Galway, Sligo and Donegal.

‘The map of these biogenic reef records is very different to the official OSPAR map and highlights the value of citizen science’, said Angel Duarte, the technical and mapping expert with Coastwatch. ‘ We hope that we now have the longest string of honeycomb worm reefs in the country – stretching from the Hook peninsula, Co Wexford right around the Waterford estuary and out past Tramore’ enthused the regional coordinators Cliona Connolly (Wexford County Council) and Alan Walshe (Coastwatch Waterford).
About the Survey
Results for nearly 600 survey sites North and South of Ireland were received which when analysed, duplicates and inaccessible stretches were removed left 498 survey sites included in our result analyses.

The Survey: How it works:
Volunteers chose 500m long survey areas from a map on<> or from a coordinator. Then a bit of planning including checking of tides and shore access. The aim is to walk a 500m survey unit of shore while completing the Coastwatch survey questionnaire with observations on shore use, animals, plants, litter, stream quality, erosion and any special observations.

These findings and any photos are transferred to computer (like completing a flight booking on line), or posted back to the Coastwatch office in Trinity College Dublin so others can input the data. The results are collated and a highlights draft published on Dec 1st where all are invited. Final results pooled with those from other countries will then be produced and fed back for shared use.

Once on the shore, it takes about 30 minutes to do the survey on a straight shore and up to an hour for a complex one with streams and interesting shore habitats. It takes another 5 – 20 min/survey unit to input results.

The Coastwatch team in Trinity College Dublin are also part of an international research project co funded by the EC which looks are water transparency and colour for early algl bloom detection and other uses. Those interested with deep water access – like a pier, pontoon or boat should contact Karin<>. For those interested in training or planning a whole stretch of coast or inlet survey the Coastwatch team is happy to send out support or speaker. There is a well qualified Coastwatch team in Dublin HQ and regional coordinators around the coast.