The Three Kings of January 19, 2015: The tide, the location, and one man’s legacy

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January 19, 2015 — A day that could only be described by Martin Luther King Junior himself, “everyone can be great, because anyone can serve…”

Perhaps it was the significance behind this observed holiday, the opportunity to restore the wetlands at Martin Luther King Junior Regional Shoreline, or the anticipation of the King Tides that excited and inspired Save The Bay staff, volunteers, and myself to give back to my community.

My role was to capture still images of the event. During the King Tides walking tour, the volunteers and I learned about the King Tides phenomenon and the vital role our wetlands play in mitigating the impacts of sea level rise.

Not to be confused with climate change, King Tides are the result of a strong gravitational pull exerted by the sun and moon. But, scientists say the high water levels you see in the photographs (above) are projected to become the daily average high tide in the year 2050. This is primarily due to a rise in sea level and destruction of our wetlands which act as a natural buffer. Healthy wetlands help protect coastal communities by soaking up and slowing down water from severe storms, which are expected to become more severe and occur more frequently as sea level rises.

Following the conclusion of the event, I returned to the same restoration site and snapped a few photographs to capture the extremes between high and low tide.

“Who drained the slough?!” I thought to myself.

Within the span of 6 hours the water level fell dramatically, exposing saturated mounds of mud and revealing plants that were once entirely submerged!

As I peered through my camera lens, staring at the muddy puddles in astonishment, the importance of wetland restoration and impact of volunteering became clear to me. Having seen the tide rise as high as the frontage road off of Interstate 880 near the Oakland Coliseum, I know that every acre of restored tidal marsh will help Bay Area communities brace for what is to come – extreme regional flooding over time.

From social to environmental movements, Dr. King taught us that it does not take much to be great. Simply put, a little help will make a lasting impact.

While covering this event is my small contribution to help improve our local region, there is nothing more powerful than seeing what we are capable of together as a community.

To view more photos from this restoration event visit our Facebook Page!



One thought on “The Three Kings of January 19, 2015: The tide, the location, and one man’s legacy

  1. Great photo sets. I work for the City of Oakland and drive one of our natural gas cars for my field work so I travel past this area to get to the corp yard on Edgewater just past the slough and the bridge you took photos of. I see the tides at least once a week from there. You make it look spectacular.

    If this is 2050 then King tides or even normal spring tides plus storm runoff then will inundate that stretch of road. I don’t know why, since it is newish they did not anticipate the rise and add a meter or so to the height. The roadway too will be damaged but bridges are expensive to build and remove and of course building them creates more green house gases that add to sea level rise…We need to get it right now and not do things two or three times over. I always said if we got smart with the “Oil crisis” of 1973 and had used oil to convert to sustainable then we’d be there today but falling oil prices and thinking ahead only to the next election squandered that opportunity and several more since! The real problem is not that sea level rise will destroy existing wetlands is that we no longer have uplands that we can convert to wetlands, it is all owned by people who will want to protect their investments and have land use entitlements and so on. It will be a hard and expensive sell to get people to donate acres of land. On the other hand they might not have much choice, unless we go Dutch. Humm.

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