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King Tides Wrap-Up Party – January 27th, Rogue Brewery, South Beach

Salmon River Wetlands
John Bauer photo


The final round of this season’s citizen science King Tide Project has been completed. Now the public is invited to a party to celebrate the success of this winter’s project, through which volunteers photographically document the year’s highest tides, and start preparing for next year’s “king tides.”

The King Tide Wrap-Up Party takes place Friday, Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m. at the Rogue Brewery in South Beach ((2320 S.E. Marine Science Dr.).  All are welcome.  The event is free, and finger food will be provided—beer and more substantial fare on your own. The best of this winter’s King Tide Project photos will be shown throughout the evening.

The speaker for the occasion is Julie Sepanik, whose topic is “Planning for Future Flooding in Oregon’s Estuaries.”  She is a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, stationed with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).  Her academic background includes investigating the response of salt marshes to sea-level rise, and her current project with DLCD is a “sea-level rise exposure inventory” for communities along our estuaries, exploring the impacts climate change is likely to have on estuaries and their resources.  This information will aid coastal cities and counties in planning for resilience in the face of climate impacts. 

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Sepanik will discuss the flooding scenarios being developed, and how citizen science such as the King Tide Project can help in visualizing these models. There will be plenty of time for questions. The talk will help to place the project in its long-term context.

Oregon’s King Tide Project is part of a worldwide initiative through which anyone with a camera can help document the reach of the year’s highest high tides, often called “king tides.” While “king tide” isn’t a scientific term (it’s Australian slang, since the project began on that continent), it is used to describe an especially high tide event, 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.

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King Tide events give us the opportunity to peek into the future and see what the impacts of sea level rise could look like on our coastal communities. Even a small increase in sea levels could increase the intensity and impacts of winter storms along the Oregon coast, worsening 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, based on the contributions of volunteers, can help inform residents and decision makers about the need to plan for the coming changes to our natural and built environments.

The project will take place again next year, so the Wrap-up Party is also an opportunity to learn about how to participate in the future.

For more information about the technical aspects of the project, contact Meg Reed, Coastal Shores Specialist with Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development, (541) 574-0811, meg.reed@state.or.us. For information about participating in the project or about the party, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator, at (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org.

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