Snap a Photo, Help Save a Beach

Calling all “Citizen Scientists!”

With just a cell phone, a visit to certain beach points and a concern for the future of Delaware’s coastal future, you too can contribute to a worldwide effort to save coasts everywhere. Welcome to the state’s “CoastSnap Community Beach Project.”

We all know by now how fragile our coastal region is: storms and sea level rise pose threats to beaches, essential marshes and estuaries. Enter CoastSnap. Originating in New South Wales in 2017, CoastSnap has become a global effort by oceanographers and climatologists studying changes in coastlines to determine how to preserve them. To gather precise measurements, scientists are asking for the public’s assistance. Delaware jumped on this opportunity. Just “snap” a photo, and upload it to CoastSnap Delaware’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. You can also upload your photo to CoastSnap’s international site, where you can see beach photos taken by concerned people across the globe.

And with that small act, you can help save the life and beauty of our Delaware coastline. Through technology called photogrammetry, measurements and predictions of beach changes are monitored. Every single photo uploaded helps coastal scientists monitor the changing seascape. Through a fascinating collaboration between federally-funded Sea Grant, the University of Delaware’s Coastal Science division and Delaware’s Division of Natural Resources (DNREC), CoastSnap Delaware is a leader as a state in the movement to engage citizens. There are photos from other US beaches on the CoastSnap international web site, but only Delaware and Woods Hole, Massachusetts have dedicated programs to monitor local beaches. You may not have realized it, but DNREC is constantly reconstructing Delaware beaches.

Dredging sand to contour beaches and prevent flooding are occurring behind the scenes every day. Justin Shawler of DNREC calls it “watershed stewardship,” not just for safety, but also to keep Delaware’s vital beach tourism intact. DNREC has been at this “beach filling” system since the 1950s, and also constructing jetties and sand berms, planting native grasses and placing dune fencing… all to protect and maintain Delaware’s phenomenal beaches.

So, snap to it! Here’s how.

  1. Visit one of the three designated points where CoastSnap has set up a still camera mount (it is important to only send CoastSnap Delaware photos from these official mounts, not other vistas). Make sure the photo is taken with the camera placed horizontally.
  2. Official CoastSnap camera mounts are located at Broadkill Beach on the Delaware Bay, Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, and the south side of Indian River Outlet.
  3. Upload your photo with the date and time to Delaware’s Facebook page, either right away by using the QR code on a sign in front of the camera mount, or later – but be sure to document the exact time/date.

That’s it! It’s a snap to help our Delaware beaches!

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