ROCKLAND — U.S. Harbors, in partnership with Divirod, a data and technology company, is launching a pilot program in Penobscot Bay to test a new technology for water-level sensing.

NOAA currently maintains 200 live, observational tide stations in the United States, 50 of which are in the Great Lakes. Their tide stations are highly sophisticated, and therefore expensive to implement. NOAA’s budget can’t support providing stations in every location, so tide predictions for most towns are algorithmically derived — not based on actual observations. This gap in coverage makes it impossible for local communities to fully understand — and plan effectively for — changes in storm surge trends and sea-level rise.

Rockland-based U.S. Harbors has been looking for affordable solutions to this issue. This six-month pilot program to monitor sea-level rise in Maine will include five sites in Penobscot Bay: Belfast, Camden, Rockport, Rockland, and Tenants Harbor/Saint George. During the trial each site will have access to hyper-local tide data as well as a flood alert service. The objective of the pilot is to determine solutions for long-term monitoring of sea-levels that are accessible to small municipalities. The pilot will be in effect for six months — from October through March — during which stakeholders will review and give feedback on various aspects of the technology and data service.

U.S. Harbors and Divirod will also aggregate the tidal data across the five pilot communities to evaluate trends and will review findings with the key players in the Maine state government and NOAA. The technology and data services are being provided for free by Divirod for the duration of the pilot project. U.S. Harbors is also planning additional pilot projects in other parts of the country to test other available tide monitoring technologies.

Units were installed in the five test sites in September. The first group Zoom check-in to review data and experience to date is scheduled for Oct. 25. For more information, contact Anastasia Fischer, president, U.S. Harbors at anastasia@usharbors.com; 318-9482 or P.O. Box 566, Rockland, ME 04841.

filed under: