Habitat Improvement

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Nov 27

King Tides Wash In With Winter Holidays

Posted on November 27, 2023 at 1:40 PM by Gracie DeMeo

by Mary Krauszer

‘Tis the season for high waters on the Puget Sound shoreline, which bring with them the opportunity for action to prevent marine pollution and build resilience on our shores.

King tides - the highest astronomical tides of the year – can exceed 15 feet in elevation on our South Sound shorelines. You may recall the king tide of Dec. 27, 2022, during which a high tide cooccurred with a low-pressure weather system, causing record-breaking water levels at tide stations throughout the South Sound. This winter, you can expect king tides Nov. 28-30, Dec. 15-17, and Jan. 14-16.

Tide washed in to the edge of a sand spit.

High water at the Tacoma DeMoly Sandspit Nature Preserve, Fox Island, during a 2022 king tide.

During king tide events, water can reach high onto our shoreline properties, increasing marine pollution and causing episodic erosion. We can prepare for king tides by making sure all floatable materials - like kayaks, lawn chairs, and landscaping equipment - are moved far enough away from the shoreline so they won't be washed away and become marine trash. We can also protect our properties from exacerbated erosion through conservation management practices. Proper management of upland drainage, paired with enhancement of protective native vegetation, can help mitigate risk from high water events on shorelines.

If you are interested in learning how you can take a proactive approach to protecting your property during king tides and all year round, get in touch with our Shore Friendly program, which assists marine waterfront landowners in stewarding shorelines to help protect their property and the health of Puget Sound. 

You can plan ahead for high waters by tracking predicted king tides on the WA Sea Grant King Tides Calendar.

Tide coming in at the edge of Owen Beach

Tide washing in at Owen Beach, Point Defiance Park