The city of Portland, ME is set on a peninsula that has a population of ~68,000 people that is known for its scenic waterfront views.
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) is a nonprofit organization who is "dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it."
Video participants include:
Kevin Deneault, GIS Mapping Specialist, City of Portland
Hannah Baranes, Postdoctoral Researcher, GMRI
Sarah Long, Meteorologist at WMTV8
Maine is the most rural state in the United States, and towns across the state are being disproportionately impacted by Sea Level Rise. In the last decade, the speed at which Maine's sea level is rising has increased, and is now rising by as much as 1 inch every 6 years. (Source)
And yet there are only 4 federally-maintained tide stations across Maine's 228 miles of general coastline, which has been insufficient for many of Maine's coastal communities to make informed decisions about how to combat Sea Level Rise and flooding.
GMRI and the City of Portland installed a Hohonu gauge in December 2021 as a pilot to test its efficacy, led by a Hohonu-approved technician. The tide gauge was surveyed using RTK GPS technology to achieve NAVD88 and MLLW DATUM outputs.
In over 15 months there has been no required maintenance even throughout frigid winter conditions.
Portland has historically experienced chronic high tide flooding in this neighborhood through storm drains, so the city recently installed one-way valves on the outfalls.
Using a combination of sensors and photos taken by the community, the city was able to prove that the valves nearly eliminated flooding at a water level ~two feet higher than prior water levels that had caused widespread flooding.
Work was funded by the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), a organization funded by NOAA IOOS that is "the coastal ocean observing system for the Southeast U.S."
The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is a nonprofit "dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing our coasts by merging science and public policy."
Local North Carolina customers who contributed to the video include town administrators, planners, and scientists from: ASBPA, Ocean Isle Beach, Dare County, Carolina Beach, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Moffatt & Nichol, Bald Head Island, and Surf City
North Carolina communities are brought to a standstill when flooding shuts down critical infrastructure and transportation corridors.
"There's only 1 road that goes North and South in the community, and that's the lifeline. When those arteries flood, there are no choices, there's not a 'go a different route,' because there is no different route."
In these communities, SECOORA and ASBPA identified that tidal data collection can help to provide local decision support as well as to enhance data-driven modeling efforts.
With funding from SECOORA, ASBPA has been working with Hohonu to install low-cost water level sensors in over 40 communities from Florida to North Carolina.
The Hohonu sensors upload data to the Hohonu dashboard in real-time. Hohonu's API allows SECOORA to also display the data on its own data portal.
In September 2022, when many of these communities were in the path of Hurricane Ian, they were able to use Hohonu's data in a number of ways:
Local governments shared Hohonu's open access dashboard with their constituents to monitor the storm. Sensor hardware performed well in locations that were colocated with NOAA stations.
Sensor hardware performed well in locations that were colocated with NOAA stations
The data was used in conjunction with cameras in order to remotely monitor infrastructure
Researchers used the real-time data to understand how water levels were impacting road flooding
The captured data is now allowing communities to set thresholds for future events