Two Talks on Sea Level Rise

December 7, 2017 - 6:30 PM
Newport Visual Arts Center
777 NW Beach Dr.
Newport, OR
MidCoast Watersheds Council

 Yaquina River swamped by King Tide.\Photo courtesy of Wetlands Conservancy.
Yaquina River swamped by King Tide.\Photo courtesy of Wetlands Conservancy.

Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, will join Fran Recht, habitat program manager for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, to discuss potential impacts of sea level rise to the Oregon coast from two angles.  The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the MidCoast Watersheds Council, and takes place Thursday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m., in the Newport Visual Arts Center (777 N.W. Beach Dr.).

Custer will give a brief introduction to CoastWatch describing the various opportunities for volunteers to help document changes in the coast we all love and engage in hands-on stewardship.  She will focus on the King Tide Project, through which volunteer photographers document the highest reach of the highest tides of the year (the “king tides”) to reveal their impact on our shoreline and infrastructure, and preview the state of the future coast with sea level rise.  Fawn will explain the guidelines for the photos needed to document these events and how best to get involved.

Sharing the bill, Fran Recht will speak on “The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Oregon’s Tidal Marshes.”  She will describe analyses done under contract to the MidCoast Watersheds Council by Laura Brophy and Michael Ewald of the Estuary Technical Group at the Institute of Applied Ecology in Corvallis.  The project assessed the extent of inundation that would occur in Oregon’s estuaries under five different sea level rise scenarios.  Maps and graphs of local estuaries will help to clarify areas of vulnerability and where and to what extent tidal marshes will survive.  The question of whether marshes will be able to migrate upslope as sea level rises, or will be pinched off against armored infrastructure, will be a key planning consideration on the Oregon coast.

Fran Recht is a resident of Depoe Bay and a founding board member of the MidCoast Watersheds Council.  She is also a former Oregon shores president and conservation director.