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!