January 20 – San Diego Coastkeeper Releases Time-Lapse Video Showing How Wetlands Naturally Buffer King Tides

Coastkeeper invites media to watch wetlands January 19 – 21 during high tides to understand how they protect developed areas as sea levels rise


SAN DIEGO, January 20, 2015––King tides, some of the highest tides of the year, hit San Diego this week, and the area’s wetlands will soak those rising tides like a sponge. Today, San Diego Coastkeeper released time-lapse footage of December’s king tide turning the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh from a muddy field into a flowing wetlands. The goal, says Coastkeeper, is to showcase how San Diego’s undeveloped coastal areas play a critical role in protecting existing infrastructure, especially given that this week’s king tides will eventually be the new normal.

Why: California has lost 90 percent of its wetlands to development, but according to The San Diego Foundation’s Regional Focus 2050 Study, increases in sea level in San Diego could be 12 – 18 inches by 2050. Given that the average king tide is 5 – 8 inches higher than the average high tide, this week’s sea levels could be the new normal in San Diego.

“San Diego’s remaining wetlands play a vital role in keeping this week’s king tides at bay,” said Travis Pritchard, program manager for Coastkeeper. “And this also gives us a crucial look at how future development in the region should protect them and also plan more sustainably for sea level rise.”

What: San Diego Coastkeeper invites media to use the time lapse video and also capture their own at wetlands during the highest tides of the year.

Key wetlands in San Diego County to observe rising tides are:

  • Tijuana River Valley
  • San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge
  • Paradise Point
  • San Diego River Estuary
  • Famosa Slough
  • Kendall-Frost Marsh
  • Los Penasquitos Lagoon
  • San Dieguito Lagoon
  • San Elijo Lagoon
  • Batiquitos Lagoon
  • San Luis Rey Estuary


  • 90% of California’s wetlands have already been lost to development
  • King tides on Jan. 19 – 21 are 5 – 8 inches higher than normal tides
  • 2050 average tides will be 12-18 inches higher than our tides today
  • The California Climate Change Center predicts nearly 140 schools, 34 police and fire stations, and 350,000 miles of road are at risk in California from rising sea levels.

Get Involved: The California King Tides Initiative is asking residents throughout the state to photograph the king tides, making sure to capture the homes, harbors, and other infrastructure, as well as beaches, wetlands and public access to the coast that may be affected by rising sea levels. Photos can be submitted to http://www.flickr.com/groups/cakingtides. Contact Sara Aminzadeh ([email protected]) to talk about this specific statewide community initiative.


Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s bays, beaches,
watersheds and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them. We balance
community outreach, education, and advocacy to promote stewardship of clean water
and a healthy coastal ecosystem. For more information, visit San Diego Coastkeeper
online at https://www.sdcoastkeeper.org.