Ebey's Landing at Sunset

Observing our Changing Bluffs

Bluflf Study photo of Barnum Point
Bluff at Barnum Point, Camano Is

Sound Water Stewards have been trained in how to use the MyCoast/WA mobile device app to take pictures and share observations about with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Western Washington University’s (WWU) researchers.

Paul Belanger explaining bluff on N Whidbey
Paul Belanger explaining bluff on N Whidbey
strawberry point bluff-n whidbey
Strawberry Point bluff on North Whidbey
CISP Bluff view from boatlaunch
View of North Bluff at Camano Island State Park (CISP) from dock at boat launch at high tide.

The project engages community science volunteers in describing and tracking changes in bluff and beach characteristics over time. This data will allow the USGS to test and calibrate predictive models to create a regional hazard map and advance further models that evaluate present and future bluff vulnerability.

Researchers are particularly interested in pictures and reports of seeps, undercuts and slides (new and old) on the bluffs in Island County and throughout the Salish Sea and Puget Sound.

Project observations are recorded and submitted through “bluff reporter” in the MyCoast/WA app for mobile device.

Learn More in this You Tube video about how the research scientists utilize the photos upload by community scientists to view, assess, and monitor bluffs throughout the region.

Sound Water Stewards monitor the sites listed below.

Possession Point, Whidbey

The entire length of this bluff, which extends south, around the point, and back into Cultus Bay, supports a number of active slides. We monitor several of the northernmost slides. Particularly entrancing here are the many layers of ancient peat alternating with other deposits which make rich, fantastical formations in which some see a dragon spine and layer cakes.

Metric: 1470

Feet of bluff shoreline within Possession Pt. State Park land.

Strawberry Point, Whidbey

SWS Science studies with the USGS and Western Washington University to document bluff collapse and subsequent degradation. Bluff erosion is estimated approximately to be about an inch a year.

Metric: 125

Height (in feet) of bluff above sea level.

Barnum Point Preserve, Camano

Tall bluffs here have historic slides with good size slide deposits up to 80 feet in length. Beach is only accessible at mid to low tides. Thanks to Whidbey Camano Land Trust, this large acreage with over 1 mile of beach is now preserved. Previously it contained only 3 or 4 homes. Bluffs here are impacted by south winds during winter storm seasons.

Camano Island State Park, Camano

SOUTH – The 80-100 feet tall bluffs that face south are are actively eroding. They are easily accessible at .3 miles from the south end of the south parking lot below the campground

Metric: 3

Faces of south bluff on Camano Island State Park that SWS are monitoring.

NORTH – West-facing bluffs we also monitor are located to the north of the boat ramp.