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Camano Bluffs, Beaches, Slides & Tides: Reporting What You See Using MyCoast App

February 5, 2023 @ 10:30 am 12:00 pm

Flood photo from king tides

Guide(s): Paul Belanger and Callie Little

Paul Belanger is a retired geologist who’s studied the marine record of past climates. Since retiring to North Whidbey 3.5 years ago he’s been involved with Sound Water Stewards, leading geologic field trips on Whidbey and Camano about how the bluffs came to be, how they vary, how they nourish the beaches and how climate change might impact us and nearby bluffs in the future. He uses MyCoastApp to send pictures and reports of North Whidbey bluffs to researchers at USGS/WWU. He is currently our Vice president of Sound Water Stewards.


Callie Little is a graduate student working under Dr. Eric Grossman at Western Washington University writing her thesis on modeling bluff erosion in Puget Sound. Before moving to Washington, Callie studied geology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she first got involved in coastal research as an assistant to a Ph.D. student studying short-term bluff retreat. Having lived near the coast all of her life, she is fascinated by how shorelines have historically changed, what research can tell us about the future of coasts, and how coastal communities will respond to changing climatic conditions.

The Field Trip (only for Sound Waters University registrants; requires event + field trip ticket): 

Did you know Camano Island (and Whidbey) shorelines are filled with bluffs rising 20 to 200 feet high? Do you wonder how the bluffs and beaches were formed or have you observed a bluff slide?

This field trip will educate you about the sedimentary layers you see and the glaciation process which carved out the islands and shorelines. The western side of Camano Island faces Saratoga Passage where wind, waves, and tides impact the shores and, occasionally, the bluff slides. 

Plus you will learn how to use the Bluff Reporter tool using MyCoast App and how these reports are used for bluff erosion research!

MyCoast App is also used to help report King Tides. Learn how you can use this tool. Join us at Camano Island State Park to view a beautiful and dramatic bluff.

In advance, please download MyCoastApp https://mycoast.org/wa (for free) and set up your account (optional).

*MyCoast is an application that compiles user-submitted reports to inform scientists about changing coastlines, including bluff erosion. Bluff erosion reports are used to research locations where coastal slides are occurring, how material from bluffs is distributed to surrounding beaches, and coastal conditions that may influence how much and how quickly erosion occurs.

Meet up:

Address: 2269 S. Lowell Point Road, Camano Island, WA 98282
but make sure you follow signs to the boat launch!

Camano Island State Park (CISP) – Bluff is north of the boat ramp. Meet at the boat ramp (“pit toilet” nearby). We will walk north about 1,000 feet on cobble (3 to 4-inch diameter roundish rocks) and gravel.

Plan for the weather: rain gear, and sturdy shoes. Discover Pass or one-day pass is required.


Image of MyCoast App

Paul Belanger’s PPT and Links embedded in it