The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine and the communities that depend on it (like us). As the climate continues to change, and our landscapes along with it through increased precipitation and coastal flooding, we are teaming up with the institute to emphasize the importance of community engagement in climate issues.

Coastal flooding is manageable if we build strong community resilience. The first step is knowing the risks climate change poses to our community. This will help residents understand how climate change affects each of us and our neighbors and how we as a community can recover and adapt efficiently and effectively in the event of climate disruptions.

The institute’s Ecosystem Investigation Network is an excellent way to help build coastal resilience at a local level. Through this project community members can participate in and contribute to scientific research, such as tracking how climate change impacts coastal sites we care about.

Be a citizen scientist

Survey participants are invited to take photos of how high tides are impacting favorite local sites in South Portland. Photographers are asked to post their findings on the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Ecosystem Investigation Network website. Shawn Patrick Ouellette photo/Press Herald

The first high tide of 2022 will be Jan. 3 and we want you to help capture it. Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Coastal Flood Citizen Science Project (through the Ecosystem Investigation Network) encourages communities to gather local data from coastal sites. Through this effort, the city is actively monitoring multiple sites across South Portland for flooding, ranging from Bug Light to Clarks Pond Trail. You can help us. It’s simple. Just bundle up, head outside and take photos of how these high tides are impacting your favorite local sites in South Portland, and don’t forget to post your findings on the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Ecosystem Investigation Network website.

This is an amazing opportunity to be a citizen scientist in your community. Not only will you be able to compare your findings with those posted by other scientists for a specific site– deepening your understanding of high tides, local flooding, and climate change – but you will be contributing to our overall understanding of how climate change impacts species, communities and habitats in the Gulf of Maine watershed.

To learn about the institute’s Ecosystem Investigation Network and how to be a citizen scientist, visit www.gmri.org/projects/ecosystem-investigation-network/.

To find South Portland’s coastal sites (with directions and coordinates) and upload your photos, visit https://investigate.gmri.org/project/coastal_flooding/.

Another way to stay informed on and get involved with building local coastal resilience:

Coffee & Climate: Coastal Resilience

On Jan. 14 at 9 a.m., Portland and South Portland sustainability staff will host “Coffee and Climate,” a virtual monthly event dedicated to exploring sustainability topics and encouraging conversation between sustainability staff and residents. This month we will be joined by Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Gayle Bowness and David Reidmiller and Friends of Casco Bay’s Sarah Lyman to discuss coastal resilience in our region. Be on the lookout for more information in the Sentry or at www.oneclimatefuture.org/events.

Our Sustainable City

Stay tuned throughout the month of January as we release a series of articles about coastal resilience. Each week will be a little different, from local projects that you can get involved in to exciting regional planning initiatives on the horizon.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps fellow serving with the South Portland Sustainability Office. She can be reached at [email protected]

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