All Ireland Coastwatch Survey 2015 (Sept 15th – Oct 15th)

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Press Release 15 September 2015



Contact Karin Dubsky + 353 (0)86 8111 684

Coastwatch at Civil & Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2 TCD office +353

(0)1 896 2599 Email: Web: www.

Coastwatch Europe is gearing up to a new international coastal survey and is seeking volunteers to participate. Volunteers choose one or more ‘survey units’ that is 500m of shore and carry out a one off eco-audit of that area from land to the water’s edge around low tide. Survey questions, guide notes and ID posters for key animals and plants can be downloaded or provided by Coastwatch coordinators. ‘So it’s fun, exercise in fresh air, educational and useful ‘commented Christine Loughlin of the Coastwatch coordinator team.

Bookings are open – just google Coastwatch survey and further information including a digitised Coastwatch map will come up. ‘At our international meeting in Lisbon last week, Coastwatchers shared results of the last survey and planned forward with more and more countries converting to the new GIS on line format developed in Ireland by Angel Duarte’ said  Karin Dubsky, international coordinator.

Three special initiatives are planned for this year’s survey in Ireland North and South


Dublin Bay: This year Dublin Bay is a priority area where we hope every bit of accessible shore will be surveyed to celebrate that Dublin Bay has been accepted as a Biosphere reserve by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in recognition of the area’s unique ecological habitat and biological diversity.  The Biosphere reserve goes beyond EU nature law site designations as it includes the whole hydrological coastal unit of Dublin Bay and a buffer around it from Broad meadow, Howth to Killiney.

Waterford Estuary: A second priority area is Waterford estuary from Hook Head in Co Wexford to Annestown in Co Waterford. Previous Coastwatch surveys have identified a biogenic reef created by Honeycomb reef worms (Sabellaria). It is now thought that is may be one of the largest honeycomb reefs in Europe. French Coastwatchers at St Malo who think they have the largest such reef are looking closely at Irish results.


Harbours are hotspots of activity and waste can be generated on both water and land.  Marine litter is recognised as a serious environmental issue now Coastwatch Harbour survey questions focus on compliance with EU waste law and state of the harbour. ‘We want to know whether waste reception facilities and practices adequate’ said  Patrick Brady – a US  Coastwatcher who has just arrived and was surprised that there is no published harbour waste  management compliance data.  Additionally,  there is an opportunity to try some  citizen science research and  a water colour app of the  EU funded ‘Citclops’ project where information is instantly uploaded on a world map.


Nitrate levels in small inflows entering our seas can be tested by surveyors who have nitrate test kits  – available from Coastwatch.  This initiative has been running for a few years but are particularly relevant now with cattle herd increase and sewage treatment discussions.

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Note to the editor

We hope to break the 1000 survey site barrier in this autumn’s  survey and also get citizens to experience the particularly  low spring  tides at the start, mid and end days of the survey.

Booking form and map are on line now and volunteers are encouraged to select areas and request test kits now to be posted out.

Ulster Wildlife – the new coordinators for Northern Ireland and Coastwatch are also exploring a second cross border priority area.

The survey is being supported by the Department of the environment and  Citclops questions and app development is EU funded through a F& research project in which TCD and Coastwatch are partners – see

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