Volunteer Opportunities

Get involved through a variety of volunteer opportunities with WSG, including these ongoing activities in the Puget Sound region or visit Orca Bowl and Kids’ Day for K-12 volunteer activities.

For a list of volunteer opportunities see below:


Bivalves for Clean Water

Teri King, Marine Water Quality Specialist

The Bivalves for Clean Water program educates marine shoreline owners and recreational shellfish harvesters about coastal pollution, ecosystem health, water quality and resource management issues challenging Puget Sound and Hood Canal. This multifaceted approach lets participants choose activities that fit their individual learning styles and interests.

Activities offered include workshops, field trips, shellfish-enhancement activities, citizen monitoring, beach walks and assessments, site visits, publications and one-on-one technical assistance.

WSG recruits and trains volunteers to identify and eliminate pollution sources in their watersheds, enhance recreational shellfish populations and conduct safe recreational harvest trips. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or receiving additional information, please contact Teri King at guatemal@uw.edu. You can also keep up with program activities on Facebook.


Crab Team: Green Crab Monitoring Program

Jeff Adams, Marine Ecologist

The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is considered one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. Its impacts on the Washington Coast appear to have been minimal to date, but its potential effects on inland ecosystems are uncertain.

Following the discovery of green crab just west of Victoria, B.C., in 2012, WSG teamed up with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and other partners to establish a volunteer monitoring program — the Crab Team — in Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This program works in tandem with an outreach campaign to increase the likelihood of detecting green crab infestations early.

Volunteers captured additional green crab in Westcott Bay, San Juan Island, and in Padilla Bay in September 2016. This is the first confirmed capture of a green crab along Washington’s inland shorelines, which was shortly followed by three additional findings in Padilla Bay, underscoring the value of a large scale, long-term monitoring program. Such early detection offers the best chance for controlling the green crab and protecting important natural resources.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer monitor, please contact Jeff Adams at jaws@uw.edu or go to the Green Crab Monitoring Program site to learn more about the program — and consider joining the “Crab Team.”


King Tides

Bridget Trosin, Coastal Policy Specialist

Ecosystems, infrastructure and people will be impacted by the phenomenon of climate change and rising sea levels. The Witness King Tides website and community events inform coastal dwellers about twice-yearly extreme tides. Citizens’ photos of king tides are posted on the website.

The website helps local communities and decision makers visualize the challenges we will face as the climate changes. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or receiving additional information, please contact Bridget Trosin at bemmett@uw.edu.


Kitsap Watershed Stewardship Program

Jeff Adams, Marine Ecologist

Continuing education opportunities deepen Puget Sound shoreline residents’ understanding of intertidal natural history and conservation, shoreline restoration and other watershed issues, building their capacity to inform the public and contribute to local monitoring programs.

WSG, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Kitsap County Extension, coordinates and trains volunteers for the Kitsap Watershed Stewardship Program, which includes Kitsap Stream StewardsKitsap Salmon Docents and Kitsap Beach Naturalists.


SoundToxins Monitoring for Harmful Algal Blooms

Teri King, Marine Water Quality Specialist

SoundToxins

The SoundToxins partnership was conceived and initiated by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC-NOAA) but is now co-directed by WSG. SoundToxin’s roster of partners has grown from four in 2006 to 23, some of which monitor more than one site along Puget Sound. The SoundToxins program aims to provide sufficient warning of harmful algal bloom (HAB) events to enable early or selective harvesting of seafood to minimize risk to human health and reduce economic losses to community stakeholders such as Puget Sound fisheries. SoundToxins is a robust citizen science project involving hundreds of community members that regularly document unusual bloom events and new species entering the Salish Sea. WSG specialists provide volunteer coordination, training and communication services for SoundToxins.

To ensure volunteers have current information to help with monitoring, the SoundToxins Manual was revised in 2016. While much of the material is highly technical, this manual also can help educate lay readers about HABs.

Early warning of HABs and adaptive monitoring

SoundToxins is assisting the State Department of Health by providing early warning of harmful algal bloom events with phytoplankton monitoring. The SoundToxins partnership, through its weekly monitoring of phytoplankton at sites around Puget Sound, enables state officials to target shellfish monitoring at those sites with the greatest risk of HAB toxicity.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or receiving additional information, please contact Teri King at guatemal@uw.edu.


State of the Oyster Study: Testing Shellfish for Health and Safety

Teri King, Marine Water Quality Specialist

Shellfish need clean water to thrive. Pollutants can destroy their beds, and bacteria taken up by shellfish can sicken people who eat them. WSG’s State of the Oyster Study is a citizen science monitoring program that trains waterfront property owners to test the safety of their shellfish before consumption. Four times a year, residents gather clams and oysters at low tide and bring them to WSG to be tested for Vibrio parahaemolyticus and bacterial indicators of fecal contamination.

WSG then helps participants interpret the test results and, if necessary, works closely with them to identify and remedy sources of contamination. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer monitor or receiving additional information, please contact Teri King at guatemal@uw.edu.

The 2016 sampling season has been completed. Please check back in spring 2017 for the next season’s schedule and a downloadable flyer with dropoff locations, submittal form and instructions. 


Well Education Testing (WET)

Teri King, Marine Water Quality Specialist

WET invites you to look at the health of your well and learn how to keep your drinking water safe. The Washington State Department of Health recommends testing of individual wells annually for fecal coliform bacteria; testing your water is the best way to identify any contamination. WET provides homeowners with a local, inexpensive way to do the testing.

Four times a year, residents can submit drinking water samples to WSG to be tested for bacterial indicators of fecal contamination. WSG then helps participants interpret the test results and, if necessary, works closely with them to identify and remedy sources of contamination.

The WET 2016 season has concluded. Dates for 2017 testing will be posted in early spring. For more information, please contact Teri King at guatemal@uw.edu.