King Tide Project Now Underway

King Tide swamps downtown Nehalem.\Photo by Gretel Oxwang.
King Tide swamps downtown Nehalem.\Photo by Gretel Oxwang.

The second round of the 2017-2018 King Tide Project, through which volunteer photographers document the highest tides of the year, is coming up Dec. 3-5.  The final round occurs January 2-4, 2018.  (The first series of high tides we documented were Nov. 4-6.)

Check the event listings for several opportunities to get together with other King Tide volunteers for an orientation session and guidance on choosing locations.  There are King Tide meet-ups Dec. 3 in Cannon Beach, Dec. 4 in Pacific City, and Dec. 5 in Newport (the first two hosted by CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer, the third by Meg Reed of the Department of Land Conservation and Development's Coastal Management Program, our partner in organizing the project).

This will be the eighth year that CoastWatch has collaborated with the Coastal Management Program, along with the Surfrider Foundation’s Oregon branch, to sponsor Oregon’s contribution to this international citizen science initiative.  (The project originated in Australia, where these extreme tides are known as “king tides,” hence the name.)

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. 

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.

The results from previous years are available for view on a special Flickr site:[email protected]/albums

Information on how to participate and post photos can be found on the project’s website,  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, contact Fawn Custer at (541) 270-0027, [email protected], or Meg Reed, DLCD’s Coastal Shores Specialist, at (541) 574-0811, [email protected].