February 10 – High Tides on February 16 – 18 to Illustrate Vulnerability of San Diego’s Shoreline

Volunteer photography of highest tides to demonstrate potential impacts of sea level rise

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February 8, 2011 – San Diego, Calif. – Next week some of the year’s highest tides will breach California’s coastal and bay shorelines, providing a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea levels rise in the coming years. Local environmental organizations are working within a statewide project to have volunteers in San Diego County document this winter’s highest tides—known as “king tides.” Local organizers, focused on capturing pictures around San Diego Bay to support the current sea level rise adaptation planning process, expect king tides from February 16 – 18 with particularly high tides on February 17 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. San Diego participants will be eligible to win one of three prize packs.

Statewide, the organizations will use the photography to help policymakers visualize projected impacts from rising sea levels and take action to protect homes, harbors, airports, and other key infrastructure as well as wetlands, beaches, and public access to the coast. Local partners include Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, San Diego Coastkeeper, the San Diego Foundation, Surfrider San Diego Chapter, and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.

“Our shoreline greatly contributes to our economy and our livelihood, and it houses important habitat for a variety of plants and animals,” says Jen Kovecses, staff scientist for San Diego Coastkeeper.  “These king tides give us a rare chance to visualize how gravely sea level rise will change our shoreline. One common sense solution is to restore and protect wetlands, which function like natural sponges, buffering against rising sea levels, higher tides, and increased storm and wave activity.”

According to The San Diego Foundation’s Regional Focus 2050 Study, which included contributions from more than 40 multi-disciplinary experts from regional universities, local governments, public sector agencies, nonprofits, and private sector organizations, increases in sea level in San Diego could be 12 – 18 inches by 2050. The king tide event on February 17 is predicted to raise water levels five to eight inches above normal, providing a glimpse of San Diego’s future.  

To help document the potential impacts of rising sea levels, local groups are calling on residents to submit photos taken during high tides of areas known to flood and areas where high water levels can be gauged against sea walls, jetties, bridge supports, or dikes. The photos—especially before and after shots– will help to identify and catalog coastal areas vulnerable to tidal inundation and to promote awareness of the potential impacts of sea level rise.
NOAA’s Tidal Charts showcase the precise locations and tide predictions (http://www.co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/tides11/tab2wc1a.html#122) for the high tides expected February 16 – 18. Residents are encouraged to get out their cameras each morning and help capture sea level rise impacts by submitting photos, along with their contact information, photo location, orientation, and date and time of day, directly to the San Diego King Tide page at http://www.flickr.com/groups/sandiegokingtides/.

Locations in San Diego will focus on San Diego Bay and include spots throughout the county. San Diego’s key areas to capture the king tides are in San Diego Bay, Oceanside Beach, San Elijo Lagoon, Del Mar Dog Beach/San Dieguito Lagoon Entrance, Torrey Pines (at the beach strand where Penasquitos enters the ocean), La Jolla Shores, and Mission Beach.

Media can arrange a personal tour from shore or on boat and get more information by contacting Kristen Goodrich ([email protected], 619-575-3613 x314) at TRNERR or Jen Kovecses ([email protected], 619-758-7743 x113) at San Diego Coastkeeper. Residents can learn more about the king tides and the photography submission guidelines by visiting the Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sandiegokingtides/.


About National Estuarine Research Reserve System
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is a network of protected areas established for long-term research, education, and stewardship.  Through a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Estuarine Reserves Division and the coastal states, the NERRS plays a critical role in sustaining the nation’s estuaries and coastal communities.  There are currently 28 Reserves located throughout the United States, comprising more than one million acres of estuarine land and water.  Reserves conduct research, monitoring, restoration, education, and training designed to improve our understanding and management of estuaries. For more information, visit www.trnerr.org

About San Diego Coastkeeper
Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s inland and coastal waters for the communities and wildlife that depend on them by blending education, community empowerment, and advocacy. For more information, https://www.sdcoastkeeper.org