Parker’s Marsh Beach Profiling Update 1

Since starting my project 8 weeks ago I have changed it and worked to adapt parts of it in order to collect data in the most effective way possible. Firstly, I decided to profile the beach once a week instead of biweekly as I originally proposed. While this might cause me to miss out on some subtle changes to the beach, I’ll ultimately be able to continue my profiling for twice as long.

The first week I profiled the beach, I picked two spots, one on the more protected inland side of Parker’s Marsh, and one on the bayside. I have returned to and profiled these sites weekly using two poles with three feet of rope between them to determine the beach’s slope. I haven’t started graphing or analyzing my data yet, but simply through being there these past eight weeks I have noticed the beach changing in various ways.

The tide and weather will end up being a big factor in how the beach changes, and while I don’t plan my trips around the tide, I do record it, and will include it with my data when I eventually analyze it. So far I’ve made a mistake in that I forgot to take pictures of the beach for the first couple of weeks. However, I’ve started to take pictures which should give my data a good visual context.

Comments

  1. Hi Evan! This seems like a cool and important project. I’m excited to see the pictures you’ve taken.

    What plants and animals are you tracking? Are there key animals to the ecosystem to which you are paying special attention? I wonder if the animal life especially is difficult to track on a weekly basis, since it could be pretty random which animals are present at a given time. Have there been any difficulties in that field?

    I understand how you track the change in slope of the beach, but how do you track the changes in elevation? That seems like it could be difficult, especially if the changes are minor. What do slope and elevation tell you about the health of the beach? I don’t know much about ecology or beach health, but I love the waterfront and care deeply about the health of that ecosystem. Are there any small things that we humans do that have a large negative or positive impact on beach health? Can’t wait for your next update!

  2. eclawrence says:

    Hey,
    Unfortunately I gave up on recording plants and animals on Parker’s Marsh because there wasn’t enough variation to make it worthwhile. The dunes and marsh areas are full of Spartina alterniflora, a common grass in salt marshes, and besides fiddler crabs there wasn’t a lot of animal life present. However, I know that foxes, as well as eagles, and a lot of other birds live on the marsh.

    To measure the changes in elevation on the beach I used two poles 3 feet apart with a string stretched between them. I attached a level to the string and moved the string up and down the pole until the level was even. Then I could see the positive or negative change in elevation every 3 feet. To help beach health just basic things like staying off the dunes, and not going into posted areas do a lot. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and I just posted my next update.

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