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Picturing the Future of Our Coast Gulf of Maine King Tides Photo Contest Planned for October 9

Portland, ME – Along the 7,500-mile Gulf of Maine shoreline, an extreme high tide on October 9, 2014 will illustrate what may become—with sea-level rise—the new tidal norm. Participants in the first-ever Gulf of Maine King Tides Photo Contest will document how the astronomical high tide that day affects wharves, causeways, marshes, beaches and other coastal settings. Interested citizens are encouraged to join the contest—submitting images from their cameras or smart phones.

“Sea-level rise is not in some far-off future. It’s here and we’re seeing the effects particularly on the perigean spring tides—when sun and moon align to cause exceptionally high tides,” notes Marina Schauffler, Climate Network Coordinator for the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. “These ‘King Tides’ give us a preview of heights that typical tides will likely reach in coming years.”

 Organizations from three states and two Canadian provinces are collaboratively planning the Gulf of Maine King Tides Photo Contest—which invites images of coastal settings from Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts to Cape Sable in Nova Scotia. “There’s been strong regional collaboration around Gulf of Maine for 25 years,” says Schauffler. “With climate impacts a growing concern, we hope that images from this contest will help coastal communities assess their vulnerability and better prepare for sea-level rise.” Sea levels within the Gulf of Maine have increased more than half a foot (20 cm.) over the past century, and scientists anticipate an additional rise by 2100 of at least 2 feet (61 cm.), and possibly more than 3 ft (91 cm.).

 The Gulf-wide contest is part of the international King Tides Project, involving community initiatives that help people envision a world in which sea levels are markedly higher than they have historically been.

 Details on contest participation can be found at Photos should be taken around the midday high tide on Thursday October 9 (see local tide charts for exact timing) and submitted online by October 15. Contest winners, announced by October 31, will receive gifts contributed by Patagonia and Photo Market in Portland, Maine. The grand prize is a Fujifilm FinePix XP170 waterproof digital camera.

 Organizational partners in the regional King Tides Project include the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment—Climate Network, King Tides Project, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Ecology Action Centre, Envisioning Change/University of Southern Maine, EOS Eco-Energy, Friends of Casco Bay, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Maine Geological Survey, Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services/Coastal Program, New Hampshire Sea Grant, St. Croix Estuary Partnership, and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.