ACASAK
(Formerly Coastal Sensor Solutions) Boston, MA

Save the Harbor

Save the Harbor / Save the Bay rain gauge

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has asked ACASAK to install rain gauges and other sensors to better understand the factors that affect water quality on the Boston Harbor region's public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket.

Charles River

Community Boating weather station

A weather and water temperature monitoring station was installed on an island in the Charles River for the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA). The station provides real-time weather and water temperature data for anybody to use, and it is used by CRWA to feed hourly data into an online model that predicts water quality for recreational boating. This water quality forecast is used by the large community of boathouses on the Charles to make decisions about river use. This project was part of Benjamen Wetherill's Master's thesis on the value of real-time environmental sensor networks. It was funded by MIT Sea Grant and supported by the UMass Boston Center for Coastal Environmental Sensor Networks.

Essex Bay

Essex Bay green crab cameras

Wireless video cameras have been installed in a salt marsh in Essex Bay, MA for investigators from Mass Bays and Boston University. The cameras will be used to monitor invasive green crab activity. There is a concern that green crab burrows are exacerbating salt marsh erosion. With the threat of sea-level rise, salt marshes are already at risk, so the compounded impact of green crab burrowing could be considerable. This project is using two video cameras to capture real-time imagery with high temporal resolution of crab activity and marsh bank changes. A daylight-only camera provides a wide-angle view of the marsh bank, and a second camera with nighttime infrared capability is focused at close range at the edge of the marsh bank during low tides. Both cameras will be deployed for 6 months or longer, spanning spring and summer 2015.

During the winter, the cameras are focused on studing the role of ice in destabilizing marsh banks. Ice wedges in cracks on marsh banks are an interesting phenomenon that has been assumed but not studied in detail. The high-resolution camera images will help understand this natural forcing.

CESN Buoys

Boston Harbor CESN water quality buoys

In a project led by the Center for Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks (CESN) at UMass Boston, three custom water chemistry monitoring buoys were designed and built for Boston Harbor. The buoys measure water temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, turbidity, cdom, and a full array of meteorological parameters every 10 minutes, and data is uploaded via cellular telemetry to a web server on an hourly basis. These buoys were constructed as part of an MIT SeaGrant and MWRA funded project to develop correlations between satellite imagery and water quality parameters. The buoys are intended to be deployed permanently during ice-free months. Data from the buoys is made public through the CESN website.

Underwater Cameras

MIT SeaGrant underwater cameras

Underwater cameras have been installed in Cohasset Bay for investigators from MIT SeaGrant: Carolina Bastidas and Juliet Simpson. The cameras will be used to monitor the diversity of aquatic life around eel grass beds. This project is using GoPro cameras with custom time-lapse controls to capture hourly images of the boundaries of eel grass beds. The cameras are at a depth of 10-20 feet, depending on the tide. They have been deployed for the summer of 2016. Images will be used for research and to support classes at MIT.

Jones River

Jones River salt marsh camera

Two wireless video cameras were installed for the Jones River Watershed Association to monitor salt marsh erosion in the Jones River. The Jones River Watershed Association in a joint project with MIT SeaGrant is studying the effect of sea level rise on coastal salt marshes. Both cameras will be deployed for several years to capture long term changes as well as instantaneous events. These cameras were copies of the cameras developed on Thompson Island.

Thompson Island

Thompson Island erosion camera

In coordination with the BU Multimedia Communication Laboratory and the UMB Center for Coastal Environmental Sensor Networks, a network of wireless video cameras was deployed on Thompson Island in Boston Harbor to monitor long-term erosion of the northern bluff and other coastal processes along the eastern side. This installation served two purposes. It was a test to see how well low cost video cameras on a long-distance wireless network could perform in a harsh coastal environment. And it was intended to be a resource for the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. The successful completion of the test spawned contracts for other camera installations in the Jones River Marsh and Essex Bay which have both been used to support serious scientific research. The Thompson Island organization is dedicated to educating school children in outdoor experiences and environmental science. The images gathered from this camera were used as an exhibit in the education programs run on the island.