King Tide Project Underway

The time has arrived for volunteers to help trace the reach of the year’s highest tides.  For the seventh year, Oregonians will participate in the King Tide Project, the state’s branch of an international citizen science initiative.  The project is sponsored in Oregon by the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, the Coastal Management Program of the Department of Land Conservation and Development, and the Surfrider Foundation.

Through the King Tide Project, volunteer photographers document the highest tides of the year, 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. The three extreme tidal series participants will be photographing this winter begin with the series taking place Nov. 14-16.  The other two rounds are Dec. 12-15, and Jan. (2017) 10-13. Such high tides are known in Australia, where the project originated, as “King Tides,” hence the name).

Information on how to participate and post photos can be found on the project’s website, http://www.oregonkingtides.net/.

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.

Participants will post photographs online through the King Tide 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.

For information about the project, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, at (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org.