Parks in Oak Harbor sustained damage from flooding and high tides that occurred on the island at the end of December. Windjammer Park sustained the most damage.
Heavy rain and snow melt caused what are known as king tides – the highest predicted tides of the year. The tides caused widespread flooding and damage on Whidbey Island.
Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith gave a presentation on damage the city parks suffered at a city council meeting last Tuesday. He said that NOAA predicts king tides are a preview of how sea level rise in the future will affect coastal areas, and that data for Washington state shows a one-foot rise in tidal levels in the next 30 years
“As time goes by, the water reached now during a king tide will be the water level reached at high tide on an average day,” Smith said.
Along with damage to parks, the Oak Harbor Marina was inundated with logs, the bulk of which are now cleared away. The wiring for the fuel dock was saturated but has been repaired.
The Flintstone Park pier went underwater but there was no damage.
The bridge in Windjammer Park was closed briefly until it was dredged and logs and sand could be removed from underneath it. The lagoon dock rose off its piling and appears to be damaged. It is blocked off until water levels recede.
Smith said dredging in the park will be completed after this season’s remaining high tides.
“Usually we have more tree loss during an event like this but staff did a really good job of mitigating that,” Smith said, adding there was no tree loss.
Most significantly, the flooding washed away three and a half feet of sloped shoreline that goes up to the park’s paved walkway, as well as 6 to 7 inches underneath the pathway due to the tide pushing logs against it.
Smith said the department is currently working on a solution to fill the area with sandbags, but engineering staff will meet onsite with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to figure out a more long-term solution.
Public Works Director Steve Schuller said that the city should expect more flooding this season. There are several tides over 13 feet expected every day from Jan. 21-26. FEMA released a map of the waterfront area that could be inundated with water, which includes Windjammer Park and parts of Pioneer Way.