BELFAST — Councilors approved at their Sept. 21 meeting a request from the Climate Crisis Committee and Harbor Master Katherine Given to participate in a pilot program through US Harbors that places five water-monitoring sensors in Penobscot Bay to monitor sea-level rise.

Divirod, a technology company, will install and operate the sensors for a free six-month trial and then a new agreement can be negotiated after that to pay for the service, Given said. The company does not charge for the sensor but rather for a subscription to the data the sensors collect.

US Harbors serves 1,400 harbors across the country, according to a company press release submitted to the city. The organization has joined with Divirod to create a more affordable sea-level rise monitoring system for coastal communities. The technology requires minimal maintenance and is not intrusive.

Other towns participating in the pilot program are Camden, Rockport, Rockland and Tenants Harbor.

Given said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gathers regional tidal data but this program would gather data at a specific point in Belfast.

Climate Crisis Committee Chairman Jon Beal said the technology is experimental and different than the sensors currently used in Belfast bay because it uses satellite GPS technology. It will allow the city to have three different tide and surge measurements and the data will be able to give officials a picture of sea-level rise from Belfast to Tenants Harbor. “I think will be a really interesting new set of data for NOAA and for us,” he said.

The Climate Crisis Committee launched a citizen scientist program last year to monitor wave surges in certain locations around Belfast Bay. It issued three sea level rise reports between 2018 and 2019 that outlines climate change threats to the city and ways to mitigate those threats into the future.

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