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Last of Oregon Coast King Tides Tomorrow, Your Help Needed

Published 01/09/2017 at 4:03 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Last of Oregon Coast King Tides Tomorrow, Your Help Needed

(Oregon Coast) – The final round of this year's king tides occur tomorrow through Thursday (January 10 – 12), and those in charge of the King Tides Project are looking to recruit an army of photograhers to help capture how high these enormous tides reach.

Anyone with a camera can help, according to CoastWatch director Phillip Johnson.

“Everyone is welcome to participate,” he said. “All you need to do is Pick a place, Click a photo and Share it online.”

“King tide” events occur when the sun, moon, and earth are in alignment, causing the greatest gravitational pull on the tides. When king tides occur during floods or storms, water levels can rise to higher levels and have the potential to impact infrastructure, property, and the coastline.

Tracing these highest tides gives experts the opportunity to peek into the future and see what the impacts of sea level rise could look like on coastal communities and natural areas all around the world – and the Oregon coast. Even a small increase in sea levels could reinforce the intensity and impacts of winter storms along the Oregon coast, exacerbating chronic hazards like erosion and flooding, and decreasing the width of the public beach. By capturing images of these extreme high tides, scientists and planners hope to gain insight into how rising sea levels will impact coastal areas in the future. The long-term dataset can help inform residents and decision-makers about the need to plan for the coming changes to our natural and built environments.

CoastWatch has been sponsoring and organizing the King Tide Project in Oregon since 2010. This year its partners are the state’s Coastal Management Program, and the Surfrider Foundation.

Johnson said they are looking for a few elements that would be the most helpful and dramatic. Photos that show high water levels next to a fixed object, like a seawall, bridge abutment or pilings allow experts to compare these moments against other periods of time. In this way they can be documented and tracked over the years and months.

“However, we’re interested in how these tides affect all areas of the coast - both outer shorelines and the shores of estuaries and lower rivers,” Johnson said. “The effects of the tide may not be as readily observed in natural areas, but by tracking tidal elevations over the years the impact of higher tides will become evident.”

The groups also ask you include the location, the date and time the photo was taken, and the viewer’s direction for each picture. Two photos taken from the same spot, one during the king tide and the other at a typical high tide are also very effective in highlighting these high water events. Find tide tables for your area and instructions for how to take and upload photos on the King Tides website:

For more information about the technical aspects of the project, contact Meg Reed, Coastal Shores Specialist with Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, (541) 574-0811, For information about the project and about participating in the special effort to document the King Tides in the marine reserve areas, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator, at (541) 270-0027, Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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