Fast Facts: What is beach profiling?
Beaches are constantly changing! Forces like storms, ocean currents, and changes in sea level work together to add and remove sand from the beach. Over time, these forces can change the beach dramatically: it can build up or erode away. Beach profiling is a simple way to track these changes over time. By measuring the contour, or profile, of a beach at regular monthly intervals, we can start to observe long-term patterns of sand erosion and accretion. Right now we are in the pilot stage of our beach profiling research, with volunteer teams taking regular profiles at three beaches. We will be expanding to more beaches soon!
Volunteer Description: What do beach profiling volunteers do?
Volunteer Experience: Volunteers work in teams of three to take beach profiles once per month on a particular beach. CRV provides all necessary materials, an initial training session, and additional training and support throughout the year. Interested volunteers can get a group together and sign up as a team of three, or you can sign up as an individual or pair - if you sign up without a team, we will connect you with other volunteers to form a team.
Time Frame: Beach profiling volunteers will take a beach profile one time per month, and each profiling session will take about 1-2 hours to complete. Teams will be given a list of three to five optimal profiling days for each month, which coincide with the month’s lowest tides. Volunteers will coordinate with their profiling team to choose the best day each month for their team to profile.
If you are interested in beach profiling but unable to commit to a monthly schedule, we also need volunteers to serve as substitutes in the event that a regular team has to miss a profiling session. And we are seeking trained beach profiling volunteers to form a special response team that will conduct beach profiles on short notice after storms pass through.
Project Impacts: Volunteer beach profiling is an exciting collaboration between the Coastal Research Volunteers, the NHDES Coastal Program, and the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping to fill a gap in our knowledge of the resilience of New Hampshire's beaches. Data collected by volunteers will be analyzed by professional geologists and made available for municipal and regional planners and beach managers.
- Interest in helping monitor changes in the beach
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Interest in enjoying 1-2 hours/month on the beach, even in the wintertime!
- Meet people from your community with similar interests
- Opportunities for continuing education in beach ecology and geology
- Contribute to a long-term dataset used to understand New Hampshire’s beaches and improve our understanding of beach resilience
Questions? For more information or if you want to join the volunteer beach profiling team, contact Caitlin Peterson.
Upcoming Opportunities: Join our beach profiling effort!
Training sessions for new beach profiling volunteers are coming up in summer 2017. Check back here or sign up for our newsletter for more information, and contact Caitlin Peterson if you would like more information or to be notified when trainings are scheduled.
Learn More: Links, resources, and partner organizations
Want to learn more? Our partners at Maine Sea Grant have been conducting volunteer beach profiling for almost twenty years, and you can read all about their profiling work, watch their introductory video to learn what beach profiling is all about, or read more about how beach profiling has been used to help create beach management plans.