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Summer 2012 – News and Notes
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VOLUME 26, NUMBER 4, SUMMER 2012                                                                                                                                                                            back to main story    

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Survey indicates local support for offshore wind turbines

Within the next decade, wind turbines could be operating off the South Carolina coast, their blades capturing ocean winds and producing clean, renewable energy for coastal communities. But proposals to install manmade industrial projects in nearshore ocean waters have historically faced strong opposition among coastal landowners and “marine recreationists”—that is, people who are strongly attached to coastal and ocean places.

Marine recreationists have often opposed projects because of perceived loss of aesthetic appeal, concern over possible losses of fishing areas, and impacts to wildlife.

A new survey, though, shows that 73% of marine recreationists, such as beach users and anglers, report some level of support for wind energy in the North Myrtle Beach and Georgetown areas of South Carolina. These two areas, which have the state’s strongest winds close to shore, are among the most feasible sites for wind turbines.

Sea Grant researcher Matthew Brownlee, who recently completed a Ph.D. in parks, recreation, and tourism management at Clemson University, and his colleagues surveyed 657 residents.

About 25% of people surveyed reported some level of opposition to offshore wind energy in the study region. The most frequent reason for opposition is that offshore wind energy would supposedly reduce scenic and natural beauty. Overall, however, people surveyed generally lacked a willingness or high likelihood to engage in civic action to oppose wind energy or support it.

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium provided “seed” funds to support this research. Study results have been provided to members of the South Carolina Regulatory Task Force for Coastal Clean Energy, representatives of state and federal natural-resource agencies, and public and private energy providers for their use as proposals for wind-energy development are offered.

For more information and to download a PDF of the final report, visit

USC professor ­recognized with state environmental award

Patricia DeCoursey received the 2011 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award, which recognizes South Carolinians who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of our environment.

DeCoursey, a biologist at the University of South Carolina since 1976, received the award for her volunteer efforts in creating small urban forests and gardens.

In 2006, she took over restoration of an abandoned woodlot donated to the university about half a century ago. She tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours (and coordinated the efforts of thousands of other volunteers) to create a valuable teaching and conservation outreach facility, the W. Gordon Belser Arboretum, representing 10 different biomes.

“Her aim was to create represen­tative plant communities typical of South Carolina that would be used for teaching,” said Guy Sabin, Environmental Program Manager with the S.C. Forestry Commission. “She combined her enthusiasm with her ability to recruit quality volunteers and accomplished her goals at a surprisingly low cost. Ultimately, she gave an invaluable gift to the people of South Carolina.”

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations to the awards committee. This committee is made up of representatives from the state’s natural resource agencies, including the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Forestry Commission, and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Susan Ferris Hill of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and Denise Sanger, formerly with the Consortium and now with the Department of Natural Resources, served on the committee.

Candidates for the award should demonstrate innovation and leadership. His or her accomplishments will have led to positive change or may have influenced matters affecting the natural environment.

The S.C. General Assembly ­established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award in 1992. It’s now in its 19th year recognizing outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources.  

Litter cleanup volunteers needed

Join S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and S.C. Department of Natural Resources for the 24th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Last year over 3,000 dedicated volunteers removed 20 tons of debris from our beaches, marshes, and waterways, but there is more work to be done.

Beach Sweep/River Sweep—South Carolina’s largest one-day cleanup—is held each year in conjunction with the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. A list of coastal site captains and areas covered is available online at Simply choose a site and contact the site captain directly to let them know you’d like to join their team. If you’re interested in cleaning a needy area that is not listed, please contact Susan Ferris Hill, coastal coordinator, at (843) 953-2092 or Volunteers who want to help inland may contact Bill Marshall at (803) 734-9096 or

Beach Sweep/River Sweep is funded primarily from private sources. Major sponsors for the 2011 cleanup were Ashbritt, Inc., BP Cooper River Plant, Charleston City Marina, Charleston Water System, Coastal Expeditions, Mt. Pleasant Waterworks, The Duke Energy Foundation, and Walmart Market #34.

Consortium honored by Sea Grant Association

At a biannual meeting in March, the Sea Grant Association (SGA) presented the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium with the Partnership Award “for its long-standing commitment to Sea Grant and the SGA.”

The SGA also recognized Elaine Knight, who was then the Consortium’s assistant director, with a Distinguished Service Award “for her dedicated service and outstanding contributions.”

The SGA is a non-profit organi­zation dedicated to furthering the National Sea Grant College Program. More information about the SGA and its work is available on their website at

New employee joins Consortium

Ryan Bradley has joined the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium team as an accountant/fiscal analyst. Ryan was previously employed by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles where he was the agency’s budget lead.

Ryan is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in economics, and he participated on the Division I baseball team during his time at the university.

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Last updated: 12/4/2012 9:25:47 AM
Summer 2012 – News and Notes


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