Beach Watch is a long-term shoreline monitoring
project that was founded in 1993. This year-round assessment program is
conducted by dedicated volunteers who regularly survey an assigned beach
within the Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuaries. Volunteers collect data on live and dead species of
birds and marine mammals. They also report violations, detect oil
pollution, and collect oil samples.
- Provide a baseline dataset on the presence of live and beach cast marine organisms;
- Assist Sanctuary management in the early detection of natural and human-caused environmental events;
- Develop a network of volunteer expert surveyors who can respond during an oil spill; and
- Educate the public about the coastal environment and how they can make a difference in protecting their beaches.
In 1996, the information gathered by Beach Watch
helped win a $7.7 million settlement after a spill within the San
Francisco Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones and a $9.9 million
settlement in 1996 after an oil spill along the central California
"The volunteer training was awesome! I feel very well prepared to do surveys: learned a ton about birds, marine mammals, GFNMS, NOAA: and had a great time. I never expected to be so interested in decomposed bird carcasses, you never know what you can learn!"
- Beach Watch Volunteer