King Tides and Sea Level Rise

King Tide Community Observation and Documentation - January 2019

The first King Tides of 2019 will occur on January 20 and 21, and we are looking for people to help photo document water levels during these tidal events.  Photographs provide a visual record of tidal impacts during King Tide events from year to year.

City staff are especially interested in documenting 15 locations in Arcata, through the Arcata Marsh, and extending on the Bay Trail South.  These locations are identified by stakes.  Our King Tide Guide shows the locations, but all photo documentation at any location are welcome.

We are also providing large nails with brightly colored tufts at location stakes so high tide levels can be marked right on the ground.  
Thank you

Check out our King Tide Story Map, where you upload your photos, and see what others have posted.  If you use the Map on your phone, you can upload your photos directly, find location stakes, and see what others have uploaded as you go.  Check out our tips for viewing and documenting the tides with your phone (or other computer).

January 2019 King Tide Schedule:

DATETIMETIDEThe time and tide level are specific to the Arcata Wharf boat launch. It  is a good idea to be a bit early at any location, and to keep your eyes open for the crest of the tide.
Grab some friends and spread out at different staked locations!
January 2011:09 a.m.8.65' King Tide
January 2111:59 a.m.8.73' King Tide

King Tide Guide Logo Opens in new window
Click to view and download a guide to specific locations impacted by high tides.  You can also view the locations on our story map (see right).

We are also eager to see your photos from other locations, especially at creeks and streams.  You can take note of a location, and upload the photo with identifying location on the story map.  The upload is even easier if you have location services turned on.

Printed copies of the King Tide Guide can be found at City Hall and at the Marsh Interpretive Center.


Camera Logo Upload your photos of King Tide water levels, and see what others have uploaded for a visual story of water levels in key Arcata locations.

We also have viewable and printable info about how to upload your photos to the story map with your phone (or other computer).

Crowdsourced documentation of Sea Level Rise impacts will be invaluable as City staff continues to gather information to prepare for sea level rise responses.  This is the second annual King Tide appeal to record tidal impacts in specific places over a span of years.

King Tide is the term for an especially high tide event.  They occur naturally and regularly, and are predictable, but when they occur during heavy storms or flooding, water levels can rise even higher and cause even greater flooding.  Even with no extraordinary rainfall, a King Tide can help us get an idea of what a permanent rise in sea levels might look like in our community.

Sea Level Rise Response

A joint City Council and Planning Commission Study Session on its Local Coastal Program and Sea Level Rise Response was held on April 30, 2018.

DRAFT documents were available for review prior to the meeting:

Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment.  (The document includes an executive summary and two independent reports - Sea Level Rise in Humboldt County and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment.)

Coastal Land Use Element.  (Coastal Land Use is part of our Land Use Code.  It is often referred to as the CLUE.)

Sea Level Rise Awareness

Sea level rise affects everyone in the City of Arcata!  While significant effects may be seen 50 to 100 years from now, the City Council is considering now the policies they will put in place.  These policies directly affect:

  • Infrastructure - Roads, Electrical Stations, Wastewater Treatment, Water
  • Commercial and Industrial Properties
  • Residential Properties
  • Agricultural Land and Facilities
  • Recreation and Natural Habitat Areas

We encourage all citizens to become informed and to weigh in on the discussion.  Below you will find a draft of Sea Level Rise policies, and slideshow of maps that show what our tidelands looked like in 1870, a FEMA floodplain map, adaptation measures, and two maps showing the proposed protection zone.  Click on any of the maps for a PDF.

DRAFT Opens in new windowDRAFT

A very good way to stay informed is to sign up for eNotifications - see information below.

General Sea Level Rise Presentation

10-07-17 Sea Level Rise Awareness Events - Pastels on the Plaza, Guided Trail Walk, Information and Feedback Session

David Loya Discusses SLR Strategies
David Loya Answers Questions
Citizens and City Staff on Trail Walk - Viewing Current & Future SLR Impacts
At Pastels on the Plaza
Mark Andre and Doby Class Discussing Sea Level Rise on Trail Walk
David Loya Provides SLR Information

Sign Up for eNotifications!

  • Go to our website's main page and click on the gear icon next to the search box
  • Select Notifications from the drop-down menu
  • Enter your email address and/or sign up for text messages, and click on Sea Level Rise Notifications
  • You'll receive a confirmation email - once you confirm, you'll be ready to go
  • You'll receive a confirmation email - once you confirm, you'll be ready to go

You can also find information on the City Calendar, and by press release.sign up


Information from previous Study Sessions with the City Council:



Select to see information presented at the December 16, 2016 Study Session.

Select to see information presented at the February 6, 2017 Study Session.