The storm that hit the coast on Friday, December 23rd caused the Reserve some headaches. A tree went through our kayak pavilion, and the power went out- putting our aquarium animals in danger and our alarms and heating systems on the fritz. But the flooding! Did you get out and see the coast late morning on Friday? Check out the video of Beth Heckman walking on our underwater boardwalk on Facebook. The height of high tide varies throughout each month and throughout the year, and the tides on December 23rd were going to be high. Combine this with a stiff onshore wind and an unusually large rain event, and you get coastal flooding like we saw last week. Days like Friday are a preview of our future. Sea levels in New Hampshire are likely to rise between by 1 and 3 feet by 2100, and precipitation events are predicted to become more extreme. To draw attention to what our coast will look like in 50 or 100 years, the Coastal Adaptation Workgroup holds a photo contest during the highest tide events of the year. In 2023, this will be January 21 – 24 and you can find the contest details at the CAW website. Even if you do not consider yourself a photographer, take a walk during one of these high tide events and catch a glimpse of what our roads, neighborhoods and backyards may look like twice a day in 2100. We can clean up the Discovery Center from this storm in a few weeks, but the expense and the hassle is not something we could absorb at every high tide. The Reserve works with partners to think about how to be ready and resilient in the future, and big tides and big storms give us a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.
-Cory Riley, GBNERR Manager