Paddle for the Edge

Paddle for the Edge is an annual data collection event driven by volunteer kayakers, canoeists, and stand-up paddle boarders. 

2020 Data Collection & Training Dates Coming Soon

Become a Paddle for the Edge volunteer and help us collect valuable information about Barnegat Bay’s shorelines while you enjoy a paddle on the bay!  Learn how to do it at one of our training sessions — check back for 2020 training dates and locations.

If you already completed training in 2019, you do not need to attend training again this year, but of course you’re welcome to do so if you would like a refresher.

To get on the email notification list or if you have any questions, please e-mail [email protected].

You can view and download the Paddle for the Edge Training Manual used in the training sessions.

About the Survey

In 2015, the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP) launched the first Paddle for the Edge event.  Paddle for the Edge is a data collection event driven by volunteer kayakers, canoeists, and stand-up paddle boarders.  So far volunteers have paddled a total of 70 miles of shoreline and collected more than 3,600 datapoints with their smartphones, while enjoying a great time out on the water!

We are continuing our efforts to survey the Barnegat Bay’s shoreline in 2019.  If you are interested in participating, please sign up for one of the training sessions to be announced in the spring of 2019.

Why DO we want your help describing Barnegat Bay’s shorelines?

Land and water interact at the edge, sometimes dramatically (think Superstorm Sandy!). The bay’s shorelines are dynamic habitats, sometimes growing and sometimes eroding. Each shoreline is different, with the erosional (washing away) and accretional (trapping and accumulating) processes affected not only by physical forces (storm waves, boat wakes) but also by the presence of living species (mussels, plants).

Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Maryland Coastal Bays

The BBP’s survey includes various shoreline features and key biotic indicators, which help to assess conditions and identify what processes are impacting the bay’s shorelines. The indicators cover a range of processes, such as recreational use, shellfish growth, water quality, erosion and accretion, built structures, and plant and animal composition.

The data collected will help us monitor these critical bay shorelines and assist planners and resource managers in many ways — providing information about flooding and storm impacts, predicting how shorelines may react to sea-level rise, identifying potential restoration areas, and evaluating the recreational, habitat, and commercial value of our estuaries.

If you have any questions, please e-mail [email protected].

Frequently asked questions

1. I participated last year, do I still need to go through training this year?

No. If you attended training in 2019, you do not need to attend training again this year since all of the questions and the smart phone app are the same. However, if you attended training in 2015 – 2018, you must attend one of the training sessions in 2020. This will help give you a refresher of the Paddle for the Edge program.

2. I don’t have a smart phone, can I still participate?

Unfortunately, if you do not have a smart phone or access to a smart phone, it will be impossible for you to complete the survey.  The Collector app developed for our project stores the data safely all in one place. It is how we get the most accurate GPS reading of where you are taking your points, and it keeps all the photo records together with the data you collect.

3. What if I don’t have my own kayak?

You will need to have a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board in order to participate in Paddle For the Edge. If you do not have your own, or have one to borrow, there are several retailers in the area that rent out kayaks and canoes.

4. I’m confused about the dates, when do I have to go out?

After attending one of the training sessions, you will be assigned a section of shoreline to paddle during the collection dates.  At any time during the collection time period, you may go out and collect data points. You may go out more than once, after work, on the weekends, or whenever you have free time to enjoy paddling. There is no required day, as long as your section of shoreline is complete by the end date.

5. I can’t transport my kayak, do I get to choose where I kayak?

We understand if you don’t have the means to transport your kayak across the watershed. Please let us know at training if you need to kayak in a specific area. We will make every effort to assign you to an area near where you request. However, please have an open mind, it will take a lot of paddling to survey the entire bay! Lots of our volunteers last year were excited to discover new places to kayak!

If you have concerns or questions that are not listed here, they may be addressed during the training sessions or you can email [email protected] at any time.

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