A new beach monitoring solution that invites local community members to help collect data about Western Australia’s coastlines has been launched in the South West by researchers at The University of Western Australia in collaboration with the Peron Naturaliste Partnership.
Photo monitoring points that allow beachgoers to capture and upload identically framed pictures of the coastline have been installed at nine beaches between Rockingham and Busselton as part of the CoastSnap WA initiative.
Dr Michael Cuttler, from UWA’s Oceans Graduate School said the initiative – which was initially launched in NSW by The University of New South Wales and has since spread globally – would help combat the severe lack of data available to researchers.
“With the large amount of beaches spread across WA’s coast, it’s incredibly difficult for coastal researchers to regularly monitor the coastline at sufficient time intervals and collect enough data to support science-based decisions on costal management,” Dr Cuttler said.
“The data gathered from community members through the initiative will supplement existing coastline information, boosting our capacity to make more informed scientific decisions.”
Visitors to the nine beaches can assist researchers in collecting data by visiting the CoastSnap WA web portal or using their smartphone to scan a Quick Response (QR) code using the signage at participating beaches.
The portal allows users to capture and upload a picture of the beach by placing their device in a holder built in to the signage, which ensures all images are taken with identical framing.
Researchers at UWA collaborated with the Peron Naturaliste Partnership (PNP) – an incorporated collective group of nine local governments in the South West – to introduce the CoastSnap initiative to Western Australia.
Peron Naturaliste Partnership Chairperson and City of Rockingham Councillor Mark Jones said the initiative would raise community awareness about the impact of climate change and costal erosion in WA.
“Currently we are only involved with a regional program that collects data once a month, but this new program will provide the additional data we need to act upon coastal change issues and hotspots along our coast,” Mr Jones said.
Beaches involved in the CoastSnap WA initiative include Mersey Point Jetty, Rockingham; Silver Sands, Mandurah; Heron Point, Birchmont; Preston Beach; Binningup Beach; Eaton Foreshore; Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury; Dalyellup Beach; and Busselton Jetty.