Yes! This is part of the reason that standing-stock surveys are informative. They provide information on the density of debris on the shoreline and how it changes over time. Debris that remains on the shoreline for long periods of time is part of the “standing-stock”. The persistence of the item should be noted in the notes section of the data sheet.
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.
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.
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.
If you encounter hazardous items such as oil or chemical drums, contact your local authorities (a 911 call), state environmental health agency, and the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802). Provide as much information as possible so the authorities can determine how to respond.
If you suspect that you may have found debris with invasive species, please take clear photos of the item, attached organism, and any identifying marks on the object. Remove the item from the water or shoreline and place on dry land well above the high tide line. Please contact the appropriate Pacific region state invasive species coordinator listed at http://www.anstaskforce.gov/Tsunami.html. In your report, note the current location of the item.
Items located beyond the first barrier can be noted and described in the notes section of the data sheet; however, these items should not be included in the tallied data for the various debris items.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Knowing the width of the shoreline allows NOAA to report debris densities in units of number of items per square meter of shoreline. NOAA asks for the shoreline width at each survey, ideally at low tide, in order to evaluate the variability in shoreline width over the course of the project.
Beach width is the horizontal dimension of the beach, covering the distance from the water’s edge to the back of the shoreline as defined on your Shoreline Characterization. The horizontal arrow in the below figure depicts the beach width for this shoreline.