Find more projects

Grunion Greeters: Citizen Science on the Beach

Main Project Information
Presented By Beach Ecology Coalition
Goal Observations needed for conservation of these vulnerable fish.
Task Monitor local beaches & collect information during grunion runs.
Where California, United States of America
Description

Volunteer “Grunion Greeters” experience a grunion run and witness the remarkable behavior of the silvery little fish as they come completely ashore to spawn. Volunteers monitor local beaches and collect basic information for about two hours during a grunion run. Peak spawning season typically occurs from April through June. The grunion runs occur late at night, twice a month, after the highest tides associated with a full or new moon. Runs may occur on any flat, sandy beach and prefer areas without a lot of flashing light, noise and activity.

Background: Grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) are restricted to a narrow distribution along coastal California and Baja. After concern that beach grooming practices were harming grunion eggs incubating beneath the surface of the sand during spawning season, the first systematic study of the impact of humans on the sandy beach habitat of grunion was conducted in 2002. The results effected significant and lasting change in beach grooming procedures in San Diego and throughout California. Additional studies continue to expand this work. Coastal municipalities, beach managers, state parks, government agencies and environmental organizations are cooperating to ensure protection of incubating grunion eggs on shore and continued conservation of this remarkable fish and its sandy beach habitat.

Current Situation: After receiving reports last season not only of far fewer runs, but smaller and more inconsistent runs throughout their spawning habitat, we are considerably concerned about the species. We encourage volunteers to monitor the beaches this 2017 season during the spring and summer months in southern California. We have a list of dates and times, along with extensive information about these most charismatic fish on our website: www.Grunion.org. We encourage anyone who heads to the beach the night of a run to submit a short report on our website, especially if no grunion were seen:
http://www.grunion.org/sighting.asp

Project Timing Spawning occurs during Spring and Summer months on several nights following a full or new moon. "Peak" season is April, May and early June.
Website http://www.Grunion.org
Special Skills Ability to stay up late at night!
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Average Time An hour or so
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity At the beach
Tags beach, california, fish, grunion, moon, nighttime
Project Updated 05/23/2018