The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) asked volunteers to survey the tidal shoreline in Lee and Charlotte counties in 2007, 2010 and 2013, for thousands of urban parcels in each survey year. The surveys augment 2007 aerial photograph interpretation and provide condition trends information on the tidal shorelines most subject to human management. Shoreline condition is critical to the health of the estuary and habitat utilization by wildlife.
Citizen volunteers used kayaks and motorboats to identify mangrove condition, presence of invasive exotic plants and shoreline hardening. Volunteers were able to enter their own data through the Water Atlas.
The 2013 survey was possible because of a tremendous group of volunteers and a grant from the Florida Coastal Management Program, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The grant funded the CHNEP to create GIS coverage that allows for presentation and analysis of the collected data and a special page of the water atlas so volunteers could input their data directly into the database. Online display of survey details and data was made possible by a grant from The Mosaic Foundation.