King Tide Project Concludes

King tide washes against riprap north of Yachats.\Photo by Gail Pardi.
King tide washes against riprap north of Yachats.\Photo by Gail Pardi.

We've completed the third round of this winter's edition of the King Tide Project.  The project focused on the three highest-high-tide sequences of the 2018-2019 winter season, the last of which took place, Feb. 18-20. The first two rounds took place in December and January.

Through this long-running citizen science project, volunteer photographers document the reach of the highest tides to show current vulnerabilities to flooding and provide a preview of sea level rise.  Photographs submitted for the project are being catalogued and will soon appear online (see below).  The project's successful efforts this winter will be celebrated at a special wrap-up party Saturday evening, March 9, that is included in the Sharing the Coast Conference (see calendar listing).

This is the ninth year that CoastWatch has collaborated with the state's Coastal Management Program to sponsor Oregon’s contribution to this international citizen science initiative.  (The project originated in Australia, where these highest tides of the year are known as “king tides,” so the term is now used for the project around the world.) Through the King Tide Project, photographers trace the reach of the year’s highest tides, showing the intersection of the ocean with both human-built infrastructure (roads, seawalls, trails, bridges) and natural features such as cliffs and wetlands.  Anyone capable of wielding a camera can participate.

To see the work of the dozens of volunteer photographers who contributed to the work during last year's project, and from previous years as well, see this special Flickr site.

Documenting the highest annual reach of the tides tells us something about areas of the natural and built environments which are subject to erosion and flooding now. It tells us even more about what to expect as sea level rises. Photographs of any tidally affected area—outer shores, estuary, or lower river—are relevant.  The ideal would be to document the high-tide point everywhere on the coast.  However, photos of spots where the extreme tidal reach is particularly apparent, inundating built or natural features, are most striking, and most clearly depict the future effects of sea level rise.

For more information on the project and how to participate and post photos see the project’s website, http://www.oregonkingtides.net/.  Participants can post photographs online through this site. Be prepared to include the date, description and direction of the photo. An interactive map is available that will assist photographers in determining the exact latitude and longitude at which a photo was taken.   Photos can also be posted to social media (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter) and tagged #orkingtides.

For information about the project and how to get involved, contact Fawn Custer at (541) 270-0027, [email protected], or Meg Reed, DLCD’s Coastal Shores Specialist, at (541) 574-0811, [email protected].