Coming climate change could affect the Oregon coast in many ways, from sea level rise and increased erosion to droughts and floods to damaged infrastructure and altered ecosystems. How can we respond creatively and thoughtfully to these challenges, preserving natural and human communities in the midst of a shifting landscape? How can we adapt?
To answer these vital questions, Oregon Shores created the Climate Action Program.
We have now launched a special pilot project in Lincoln County to explore the issue of adaptation to climate change. The Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Project will organize teams of county citizens to examine the issues, assist with broad public education on climate change and draft action plans. (All Lincoln County residents are invited to participate in this project.)
Our goal is eventually to work with citizens in all coastal communities to prepare far-sighted adaptation plans for climate change.
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| Nov 28 NEW King Tide Project Will Soon Make Another Surge|
Last year's King Tide at Nehalem. Photo by Cinamon Moffett. The first of three rounds of this winter season’s King Tide project took place Dec. 2-4. CoastWatch is co-sponsoring this opportunity for camera-wielding coast-lovers to document the reach of the highest of high tides. We're looking forward to starting the new year with the next round.
The King Tide project is an international effort to document the highest reach of each year’s highest tides. (These are known in Australia, where the project began, as “king tides.”) Aside from its intrinsic interest, the project provides information on how shorelines and human infrastructure can be affected by extreme tides even at present. The more important purposes, though, is to demonstrate what we are likely to see on a regular basis with sea level rise due to climate change. The “king tides” give us a glimpse of what will become the new normal (which leaves us to imagine how much further extreme tides will reach in that era).
The project got started in Oregon four years ago, and CoastWatch has been a sponsor every year. The lead organizing role this year is being played by the Coastal Management Program of the Department of Land Conservation and Development.
Participants fan out to photograph the location of the highest water, in relation to landmarks. The ideal photograph will show the tide level in relation to the built environment or a shoreline feature from an angle that can be duplicated later, to allow for comparison to a more ordinary high tide. It is important that photographs be labeled with location, date, time and the direction of the camera’s vantage. If possible, take two photos at the same spot, one at the highest reach of the king tide, one before or after at ordinary high tide, for comparison.
Anyone with a camera can help. The results will be posted on Flickr, and used in a variety of ways. (Be sure to tag photos as “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike” so that they can be circulated and put to good use.)
The remaining dates for this year’s King Tide events are Dec. 31-Jan 3, and Jan 29-31. The goal is to document the event the entire length of the coast, so photographers are needed everywhere. Groups are encouraged to participate to organize coverage for their areas.
You can learn more about the project on its own website: click here, or by contacting Meg Gardner of the Coastal Management Program, (541) 574-4514, or email.
Contact: Phillip Johnson, Executive Director, (503) 754-9303, or EMAIL
| Sep 28 Adaptive Planning for Climate Change is Our LCDC Message|
Increased pressure to armor the shoreline is a likely effect of climate change. Click photo for larger version. Photo courtesy of DOGAMI.Oregon's Land Use and Development Commission (LDC), which oversees the state's land use planning system, recently invited comments from the public on its agenda for the coming biennium.
There is plenty that we could say, but we seized the opportunity to focus our comments on one, all-important topic: adaptive planning for the climate change impacts which will inevitably re-shape our shoreline in coming decades. In comments drafted by Courtney Johnson, our Coastal Law Project attorney, and Executive Director Phillip Johnson, we directed LCDC's attention to the coming physical changes due to sea level rise, increased storminess, and other effects of global warming, as well as the likelihood that Oregon will receive large numbers of "climate refugees" from other, more heavily affected parts of the country.
We noted that the state has actually been moving in the wrong direction, in terms of long-term adaptive planning, by eliminating periodic review of land use plans for most jurisdictions. We urged that periodic review, or a substitute form of revisiting land use plans, be reinstituted.
We recommended that the commission consider gaps in the current land use planning system that limits responsiveness to climate impacts. For instance, adjusting to sea level rise, preparing to allow retreat from threatened areas, and policy dictates for restoring natural systems as buffers against climate impacts are all missing from the current land use policy framework.
We also noted that riprapping and other forms of shoreline alteration will become an increasing impact as higher sea levels and stronger storm surges threaten shoreline property, a situation which demands a fundamental policy review.
Our comments urged the commission to make it a priority to develop a "policy toolbox" to assist local governments to incorporate climate change considerations within their plans, along with a mandate that they do so.
For more information on Oregon Shores' adaptive planning priorities, contact Phillip Johnson, (503) 754-9303, email@example.com.
| Sep 21 Climate Project Delivers Educational Papers on Climate Adaptation|
A key element of our Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Project has been the development of a set of background papers written for citizens interested in climate science and planning for the future impact of climate change on the Oregon coast. For this effort we recruited some of Oregon’s most distinguished scientists whose work sheds light on these issues, along with some of our most prominent ...