Sea Level Rise & King Tides

First King Tides of 2021 - Community Observation and Photo Documentation

The first King Tides of 2021 will arrive January 11 and 12.  The City is again asking community members to photograph water levels during these tidal events, which indicate what "normal" tides may look like in the future. 

City staff are especially interested in documenting 15 locations in Arcata, through the Arcata Marsh, and extending on the Bay Trail North. Our King Tide Guide shows the locations, but photos at any location are welcome.  

Make sure location services are turned on when taking photos with your phone!
AMIC on the Right Small02-2020 Photo Credit to HSU Photographer Kellie Jo Brown and Pilot Dave Marshall.

The City's King Tide Community Observation Story Map will not be available for these events.  We encourage all observers to upload photos to the California King Tides Project story map managed by the CA Coastal Commission, which you can find here.  The link will give you information about how to upload photos, and you can see the statewide map.

We also invite you to email photos or links to  They will be uploaded to the City's restored story map when it becomes available.  

A virtual King Tide Event will be held on Tuesday, January 12 at 2:00 p.m.  

See how King Tide events can predict future sea level rise effects, view photos of past King Tide events, and hear how Arcata is responding to sea level rise.  Join us at  We hope to see you there!

2020 King Tide Schedule:

DATETIMETIDETime and tide level are specific to the Arcata Wharf boat launch.

BE SAFE!  Always be careful around high water, watch for sneaker waves if you are at the shore, and take all COVID precautions, including masking and social distancing.
January 1110:18 AM8.5 feet
January 1211:08 AM8.5 feet

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.

Check out some photos from the February 2020 King Tide Observation, and Science at the Marsh, below.

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

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.)

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.

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