URI, R.I. Sea Grant, DEM, municipal partners invite public to take part in shoreline monitoring program

    South Kingstown, Westerly (but not Charlestown) are CoastSnap kickoff

    From left, Jennifer Ogren, assistant administrator for
    Rhode Island State Parks; Pam Rubinoff, coastal
    resilience specialist for the URI Coastal Research
    Center and R.I. Sea Grant; and graduate student Sarah
    Schechter pose with the CoastSnap shoreline monitoring
    cradle at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly.
    (URI Photos by Michael Salerno)

    equipment at three Rhode Island coastal sites now enables the public to use
    smartphones to take photos that could help government collect data on climate
    change impacts such as flooding and erosion, and ultimately inform practical
    planning and projects to address them. 

    In the vein of “community scientist”
    education efforts, this program provides the state and a municipal cadre – the
    towns of BarringtonSouth Kingstown,
    and Westerly – an opportunity to engage communities in
    “app” based shoreline monitoring.

    the equipment – a cell phone cradle – that has been installed at the three
    coastal locations, people can take photos at the sites and upload them to
    CoastSnap, an app for online photo collection and crowdsourcing. The set cradle
    position at each site ensures that all photos are taken from the same view and
    can be combined into time-lapse video sequences showing shoreline change.
    Change can occur, for example, with flooding and erosion tied to strong storms,
    tides, and sea-level rise.

    Ogren and Rubinoff scan the QR code on the CoastSnap
    cradle, which community photographers can use to submit
    a photo that will help government agencies monitor the
    changing coastline.

    public is welcome to participate as shoreline monitors by visiting the
    municipal CoastSnap sites: Latham Park in Barrington, East Matunuck State Beach
    in South Kingstown, and Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly. Instructional
    signage is on-site at each location to guide picture taking and uploading to
    CoastSnap, an online platform created by the University of New South Wales,
    Australia, and active in 22 countries.

    by the University of Rhode Island, the Coastal Resources Center and Rhode
    Island Sea Grant, both located at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, the
    project includes the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which
    serves as both state site provider and cradle installer. On the municipal
    level, Barrington, South Kingstown, and Westerly are taking part to bolster
    community education and evidence collection regarding coastal change.

    hope is that community members gain an easy and enjoyable means of contributing
    to local-level efforts to address climate change impacts,” says Pam Rubinoff, a
    resilience specialist for URI CRC/Sea Grant leading the app effort, “while
    government decision-makers and staff can consider how crowd-gathered and shared
    visual evidence can support resilience planning.”

    rise speeds up and worsens the natural coastal erosion that’s continually
    taking place in Rhode Island, where in the last 90 years, the sea level has
    risen nearly a foot,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. 

    “This already is affecting
    the eight state surf beaches that DEM manages that more than a million people
    flock to every summer. For this reason, along with our deep belief in community
    science initiatives, DEM strongly supports this. We encourage visitors to East
    Matunuck and Misquamicut state beaches to snap pictures and help document the
    changes to our shoreline.”

    Barrington, the Latham Park site is ideal for the CoastSnap project as the work
    will dovetail with a planned shoreline stabilization project. “The coastline at
    Latham Park is eroding, so this effort, tied to our stabilization project, will
    allow us to evaluate post-construction project success,” says Teresa Crean,
    director of Planning, Building, and Resiliency for the Town of Barrington. “We
    also expect the CoastSnap station will educate residents and document high- and
    low-tide levels at the park.”

    related work, URI CRC/Sea Grant is also working to introduce another shoreline
    monitoring app to local communities. MyCoastRI ( supports the collection and
    sharing of smartphone photos depicting coastal change, including flooding,
    erosion, and marine debris. Partners for this work are Save The Bay, Clean
    Ocean Access, and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.  

    CRC/Sea Grant carries out its community shoreline monitoring work with funding
    from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All state partners
    and the Town of Barrington are providing staffing resources to support the
    implementation and maintenance of the CoastSnap equipment stations.

    members wishing to make use of either app can follow these instructions:

    COASTSNAP: Place a
    smartphone horizontally on the cradle mechanism, take a picture of the site,
    and upload the photo to the CoastSnap web portal using a QR code, depicted on
    the onsite instructional signage guiding community photographers.

    MYCOASTRI: Visit to
    view the brief instructional video and upload photos of high-tides, storm
    flooding, erosion, or storm debris/damage to the crowdsource database.

    you have questions about using the app, contact Pam Rubinoff at
    For more information on the program, contact Sue Kennedy at or

    This content was originally published here.

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