King Tides Project Ready for Winter

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're about to launch the annual King Tides Project for winter, 2019-2020.  The three sets of extreme high tides we'll be documenting are Nov. 25-27, Jan. 10-12, and Feb. 8-10.

With CoastWatch’s long-time partner in the project, the Coastal Management Program of Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, and local co-sponsor Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, we’re holding a kick-off event on Friday, Nov. 15, 5-8 p.m. at the North County Recreation District headquarters (36155 9th St.) in Nehalem.  The party, free and open to all, will feature food, photos from the past 10 years of the King Tide Project, and a talk from oceanographer Francis Chan about ocean acidification and hypoxia and the impacts being felt in Oregon.  (See separate event listing for details.)

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.

This will be the 10th year that CoastWatch collaborates with the 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 the past winter'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 Jesse Jones, CoastWatch's volunteer coordinator, at (503) 989-7244, jesse@oregonshores.org.