City installs tidal gauge at Waterfront Park

From staff reports 

The City of Beaufort now has its own tidal gauge, one of a network of gauges installed throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry. The sensors are part of a project to provide real-time water level data, tide predictions, and flooding alerts to coastal communities. The gauge, powered by a solar panel, was installed last week at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. 

The project is sponsored by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), and will help fill in the current gap between tidal stations operated by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Currently, the closest NOAA tidal stations to Beaufort are at Fort Pulaski, Ga., and Charleston. Other new sensors have been installed at Port Royal Sound Maritime Center and Edisto Beach, and Hilton Head Island is planning to install one as well. 

“Community demand for local water-level data has exceeded expectations.” says Dr. Nicole Elko, science director of ASBPA. “Managers have elected to install sensors on their marsh shorelines, where chronic and episodic flooding is most severe.” 

The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium helped facilitate a grant proposal to purchase the sensors, which normally cost $3,500 each. The city’s cost was $500. 

The City will be able to monitor the tidal levels through a dashboard developed by Hohonu, a startup that specializes in environmental water level monitoring. 

“Having this real-time ability to monitor tides is a big asset for the City of Beaufort,” City Manager Bill Prokop said. 

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