Friday, July 19, 2024

Citizen scientists to snap coast

Dunedin City Council and the University of Otago School of Geography have installed ‘CoastSnap’ monitoring points at Lawyers Head and St Clair.

The sites consist of a simple cradle in which people can place their phones and take a photo using the CoastSnap app. The photos are automatically uploaded, allowing the Council and scientists to monitor changes at the coast over time.

Associate Professor Wayne Stephenson, of the University of Otago’s School of Geography says the initiative is a great opportunity for the community to connect with the monitoring and science being undertaken at the coast and to contribute to it themselves.

“CoastSnap sites are now found in over 30 countries and have become very popular for
communities to engage in citizen science and monitor how beaches change in response to storms and sea level rise,” Associate Professor Stephenson says.

DCC Infrastructure Services and Development General Manager, Simon Drew says the CoastSnap cradles help ensure all the photos collected are from consistent vantage points.

“This consistency will help give us information about how the beach and dunes can erode and recover over time with changing ocean conditions. This will in turn help to inform management options for dealing with coastal challenges,” he said.

Mr Drew says further coastal monitoring work is also underway as part of the DCC’s St Clair-St Kilda Coastal Plan adopted earlier this year. Last month, the DCC used a drone to capture topographical data, which will help produce high quality digital surface models.

“These models will help inform our approach to erosion risk management in the shorter-term, as well as our understanding of longer-term coastal processes. This will help us select the best management options for the area,” he says.  

“We expect to complete another survey in about six months, providing a more detailed
understanding of how the St Clair-St Kilda coast is changing.”

Other Coastal Plan actions underway include the construction of new access stairs for surfers at St Clair and the DCC engaging a contractor to further investigate the extent and composition of the old Kettle Park landfill to then help us select the best options to protect and then remediate the landfill.

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