Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program

photo of beach profiling volunteers
Beach profiling volunteers, Ogunquit.

Volunteers Mapping the State of Maine’s Beaches since 1999

What is Beach Profiling?

Beach profiling is a simple surveying technique used to measure changes in the contour of the monitored beach. The Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program is a unique collaboration among local volunteers, participating municipalities, and scientists, resulting in over 20 years of critical data on the status of one of Maine’s most vital and valuable natural resources.

How it’s done:

Beach profiling measurements are conducted along profile transects. The profile transect is a straight line running from the crest of the dune or other high point on the beach (such as a seawall) to the waterline. Along the transect, measurements are taken every three meters allowing observations of the beach to be made. Each monitored beach has between two and seven profile transects. And each transect has a different number so that comparisons can be made between these various lines.

Why it’s done:

Comparing profile lines recorded at different times makes it possible to measure changes in the distribution of sand on the beach. Tracking these changes over long periods (as we have done for over 20 years of the Southern Maine Beach Profile Monitoring Program) provides Maine Geological Survey with data to identify seasonal, annual, and even track long-term trends in beach erosion and accretion. This data is used to inform beach management decisions at the local and state level and the data is shared at the Beaches Conference

When and where it’s done:

Every month volunteers monitor the changes in sand movement along 12 beaches from York to South Portland.

Fact Sheet: Tracking Beach Erosion Could Help Management 1MB

See how it’s done! Check out the Beach Profile Monitoring training video

What’s New With Beach Profiling

We Need Your Help!

The program is always in need of new volunteers. This is an opportunity to participate in a regionally significant volunteer monitoring effort, learn about coastal geology, meet like-minded community members, and spend some time at the beach! Beach profile monitoring occurs once a month, year round, at 12 beaches from York to South Portland.

To learn more or to get involved: email Brian Determan, program volunteer coordinator