This 2018 monitoring season Camano SWS volunteers will monitor 12 beaches, which are equally spaced around the island and representative of several marine habitats. In May we monitored four beaches. Our first beach was English Boom located at the NE end of the island at the English Boom County Park on May 2nd. It is a steep, short, rocky beach leading to an expansive mudflat. This year Japanese Eelgrass (Zostera japonica) was present for the first time in some years.
Our second beach was at Cama Beach State Park, on May 16th. Cama Beach is on the west side of Camano near the middle of the island. There are two sites here, one to the north of the cabins and one to the south at the end of a cement wall. A couple of years ago a winter storm altered the outflow of Cranberry Creek which enters at the south end, so that now freshwater cuts through our permanent profile line. This has altered the species composition dramatically. It is much less diverse than previous years in this freshwater area changing to more diverse in the lower tidal areas. The north site is still “recovering” from a massive slide north of the park about 5 years ago. The water currents caused the lower tidal areas to be covered with silt. Each year the silt/sand ration changes which has led to the development of a large eelgrass bed.
The third site was Iverson Beach at Iverson County Park on the north Central shore on the east side of the island. It is a very long beach of mostly sand, gravel, and mud. The upper beach is littered with large drift logs from winter storms. It is a difficult beach to get to. Volunteers remark how “uninteresting” it is having low species diversity.
The fourth beach was Pebble Beach on the SW side of the island. It is a mixture of sand, gravel, and cobble substrates with sand and eelgrass in the lower tide zones. Rich in invertebrate species, it is a joy to sample.