Survey Protocols

I am completing standing stock surveys. Why do I need to take GPS coordinates of all four transects at every survey?

Taking GPS coordinates of each transect helps NOAA to track the location of transects and to ensure that the survey site location is not changing over time (due to moving landmarks or shifting beach dynamics). Additionally, it helps to ensure that site start/end points are located correctly and that equipment is functioning properly.

I am completing standing stock surveys. Why do I need to take GPS coordinates of all four transects at every survey?

Taking GPS coordinates of each transect helps NOAA to track the location of transects and to ensure that the survey site location is not changing over time (due to moving landmarks or shifting beach dynamics). Additionally, it helps to ensure that site start/end points are located correctly and that equipment is functioning properly.

What should I do if I find an item that may be a valuable or significant memento?

If an item has unique identifiers and may be traceable to an individual or group, please take photos, report it to a local land manager (e.g., a Park Ranger), and report the item to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov (note that the item was found during a monitoring survey). Use your best judgment to determine what may or may not be valuable. Remember that debris from abroad washes up on our shores all the time.

How do you record the width of the site if the back of the shoreline is not parallel to the water (for example, a U‐shaped site)?

If the shoreline site is irregularly shaped, you will need to measure the width in at least three different places (for a 100-meter long shoreline site) in order to get an average shoreline width. Please sketch the shape of the site in the data sheet notes section. Break the shoreline into a series of rectangles and measure the length and width of each. This does not need to be done at every survey. Please consult NOAA MDP if you have questions (MD.monitoring@noaa.gov).

How much distance should there be between the parallel lines I walk on the beach in order to cover the entire survey site or transect (in other words, what is a good “line of sight” for surveys)?

Your line of sight should be determined based on your eyesight and survey experience, ability to detect debris, substrate grain size and color, size and abundance of natural debris, and typical abundance, size, and composition of marine debris. One meter is a good starting point. Survey partners could hold opposite ends of a rope with a ribbon or marker tied in the middle, with each surveyor assigned the area on their side of the rope as you walk parallel to each other.

What should I do if I find a derelict vessel or other large object that may become a hazard to navigation?

Contact your local authorities (a 911 call), state environmental health agency, and the US Coast Guard Pacific Area Command ((510)437-3701) or Atlantic Area Command ((757)398-6700). Provide as much information as possible so the authorities can determine how to respond.

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