King Tides Project looking for citizen scientists to document high water along coast

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – As water levels rise along our coast, the highest tides of the year, known as king tides, are having a greater and greater impact on people and property.

“Anyone here living on the coast, our homeowners and our business owners and our community members, can tell you that we are having increased high water events,” said Caitlin Lauback, a research technician at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.

King tides happen twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, when the sun and the moon have the greatest influence on the ocean. The next ones happen on Thursday.

The North Carolina King Tides project looks to document the impacts of these high water events.

“The idea behind it is that people can use something that they’re already pretty familiar with, and that’s social media, to go out and take photos of their shorelines,” added Christine Burns, also a research technician at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.

They’re looking to you to “Snap the Shore, See the Future.”

The hope is that as people get more involved, they’ll be able to document changes over time.

“King tides is just trying to document high water events in our coastal communities and therefore how they’re gonna impact the coastal planning of our towns,” said Burns.

Beaufort is one coastal town that was inundated during the last king tide in the fall of 2015. Town leaders are interested in the research and are looking into ways to minimize their risk.

“The idea that we might be stuck with standing water that is completely tidal dependent is something that we have to wrap our minds around and probably need to plan for in the future,” said Lauren Hermley, the assistant town manager for the town of Beaufort.

They’ve recently put together a storm water advisory committee and are encouraging residents to get involved in the King Tides Project.

Go to the North Carolina King Tides Project website for more information and step by step instructions on how to submit your high water photos during the king tide.

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