All Ireland Coastwatch Survey Sept 15th – Oct 15th, 2023

Coastwatch invites everyone to join  in the All Ireland Coastwatch Survey 2023  this annual citizen science shore survey is interesting, fun, energising and sometimes challenging and contributes enormously to our knowledge of the coastal rim. With climate change, new policies and laws this is a crucial time to have up to date information and thousands of eyes on the shore. No experience is needed and this survey is suited to experienced surveyor or total new comers. It is also a great group activity for schools, clubs, family and friend groups.

Getting Started

1. Select your survey area on the Coastwatch map

1.1 Zoom in on the Coastwatch map until you see blue and white lines appear – each
denoting a 500 meter “survey unit” or SU. Then zoom further and click on a SU you want
to survey. As the blue or white line turns turquoise, look left beside the map, where there
is a booking note, and below that, your SU code pops up. This Country x County x Block x
Unit code needs to be written into your shore Survey Form question A1 to identify it for
GIS mapping later.

Note: Country code for Ireland= 8, County code for Wicklow= 6

1.2 Book your SU by following the steps in the left panel of the map
NB – This is new. Up to now bookings came as email or form requests which we manually entered on the map. Kevin designed this new version so you can book with immediate effect.
Note: anyone opening the map can see your name. If not comfortable with that, please use initials or a pseudonym.As this is a new booking feature, there may be issues on some devices. Please contact us re any problem or comments

2. Get Tools and Materials

Go to our new website and download materialsfor print, orstore on
your phone. Here what you need and what comes in useful:
2.1 Coastwatch Survey Form: If surveying forthe firsttime, we advise you print a copy, or ask Coastwatch regional or national coordination for a hard copy.
Tip: fit data from 2 surveys onto 1 form by using different colour biros for information unique
to each

2.2 Inputting Survey Data: You can complete the survey form using our new app while on the shore. Download the Spaces app from Wix (iOS and Android) and join Coastwatch using the
invite code: OWQYUO, or on our website here
2.3 Detailed Survey Guide Notes which are useful for reference and teaching. You might prefer to browse online or look up/copy select parts.
2.4 ID posters of wildlife and invasive species included in thesurvey. Download posters onto
your phone or open them on your computer and then photograph for easy reference while out surveying. We also have some hard copies on request.
2.5 Nitrate inflow water tests are no longer available individually wrapped for posting. Therefore, collect inflow water samples in clean containers (like small empty water bottles) and write survey code, date, time and your initials on it. Keep it in a cool place for testing with your regional Coordinator or discuss alternative with your Coordinator.
2.6 For your own useful materials, please see what to pack in 3.3 below.

3. Plan your survey

3.1 Time: check tide table for suitable low tides e.g. on ireland/t ides.html
• Spring tides: Three days around full and new moon are when you can expect to catch the lowest tides. If you can survey then, you are likely to find interesting biota normally covered by the sea – e.g. a Zostera marina seagrass meadow.
• Plan to start surveying around an hour before low tide.
• Check weather forecast to avoid rain, heavy swell, and
big waves.

3.2 Logistics and minimizing your carbon footprint: Plan how to get there and agree on a meeting point if surveying with others. Can you get to your survey unit on foot
or bike? If by car, can you give lifts and plan a few drop off pick up points to cover a larger area which might feature as case study?

3.3 Pack survey forms, biros, well charged phone with camera, a zip sandwich bag type plastic bag and/or yogurt bucket to collect interesting materials. Take boots or dive shoes, layers of clothes, a hanky and rain gear with you. If an inflow from land is entering your SU, try to get nitrate/nitrite test sticks and colour chart. If you don’t have them to hand or are surveying with friends, you might all test afterwards together. Each one takes a small clean empty water bottle to collect the water and label it. Then in meeting after finishing the survey each one tests and all tests are recorded by photo and on forms. This is also ideal for doing extra tests where only one colour chart is available.

Planning to survey with a school, scout or family group? You could divide the survey
questions between you before you go out and distribute relevant pages.

To read more download the Coastwatch Survey in 5 easy steps below or click  HERE 

Remember there are lots of really useful identification resources available online.

Dont forget to submit your survey results to Coastwatch    upon completion and help us map Wicklow’s coast. 


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