Humans and the Coastal Landscape
Title: An Integrated Hydrogeologic and Ecological Study of Salt Marsh Dynamics
Principal Investigator: Alicia Wilson (University of South Carolina)
Project number: R/ER-30
The investigator will complete work in this third year of a continuing project that addresses the problem of salt marsh dieback, which leads to the loss of key economic and ecological services that are normally provided by marshes. The exact cause of dieback is unknown, but dieback in the Southeast is clearly associated with drought. This work will provide a critical first step for understanding marsh dieback by determining how drought affects soil moisture and salinity in a marsh and how hydrologic changes propagate to the marsh plants. The objectives of this project will be to (1) determine how normal climate variability affects salt marsh dynamics (hydrology and ecological productivity), (2) reconstruct groundwater conditions during the 1998-2002 drought, when large-scale marsh dieback occurred, (3) test the hypothesis that differences in the ‘plumbing’ within a marsh island caused one area to be affected by marsh dieback while the rest remained healthy during the drought, (4) test the hypothesis that drought can cause rapid changes in soil moisture and salinity to determine if dieback may be caused not by extremes in marsh conditions but by rapid changes in marsh conditions, and (5) test the hypothesis that groundwater withdrawal (pumping) could cause hydrologic changes similar to those during a drought, thereby contributing to marsh dieback.
Title: Geochemical Characteristics of Submarine Groundwater Seeps on the South Carolina Continental Shelf
Principal Investigator: Richard Viso (Coastal Carolina University)
Project number: R/CP-15
The investigator proposes to continue his work in this Phase II proposal to refine Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) flux estimates that will be applied to measured nutrient concentrations in order to derive nutrient flux estimates associated with SGD. Assessment of redox characteristics in the surficial aquifer will provide insight as to origin, mobilization and precipitation of chemical species. The research objectives will be to (1) collect electrical resistivity and water quality data along the Grand Strand area of the South Carolina inner shelf, (2) process, groundtruth, and reduce resistivity data, (3) identify locations of groundwater seeps on the South Carolina continental shelf, (4) further the understanding of the effects of pore water flow on habitat development and coastline morphology of South Carolina, (5) correlate locations of groundwater seeps with distinct morphological characteristics previously identified in geologic framework studies, and (6) select locations of SGD for possible installation of a well or seepage meters for monitoring geochemical and physical properties of the pore fluids.
Title: Physical Controls on Benthic Fluxes of Microalgae and Particulate Organic Matter in Estuarine Environments
Principal Investigator: George Voulgaris (University of South Carolina)
Project number: R/CP-16
The purpose of the project is to quantify, in a new project, the effects of shallow water turbulence on the material fluxes of different particle types which will provide insights into the importance of this process in governing the source, transport, and fate of benthic microalgae, particulate organic matter, and sediments across the sediment-water boundary of estuaries. Furthermore, these results can be coupled with existing hydrodynamic models to provide system-wide estimates of benthic-pelagic exchange of particulates. The objectives of this proposal will be to (1) determine experimentally the relationship between physical hydrodynamic forcing and resuspension of benthic microalgae (BMA), particulate organic matter (POM), and suspended sediments (SS) into the water column, in a tidal creek environment, (2) differentiate the particle dynamics of sediment and BMA and identify the seasonal components, and (3) parameterize benthic fluxes of BMA into a geochemical module that can be integrated in existing physical numerical models.
Title: Addressing the Challenges of Coastal Growth in South Carolina: A S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Initiative
Principal Investigators: Rick DeVoe (South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium) and April Turner (South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium)
Project number: A/CG-1
The investigators will continue to develop and provide science-based information to educate citizens and public officials about growth issues and land use pressures and their associated impacts on natural resources in the coastal zone, and offer tools and techniques to enhance their ability to address the pressures of coastal growth. Objectives of this continuing effort are to (1) assist individuals and groups, including appointed and elected officials, land use planners, citizens groups, interagency working groups, and private, non-profit organizations to understand the impacts of coastal growth and, in particular, the impacts of land-use decisions on coastal natural resource condition, (2) assist communities with solving coastal growth related problems through the delivery of information and tools developed through Consortium research programs (e.g., LU-CES), (3) develop outreach and education programs to offer advice and assistance to coastal communities in developing comprehensive land use plans consistent with environmental health and resource conservation, (4) maintain existing and establish new linkages and collaborative partnerships on the national, regional and local level to develop and deliver programs related to the coastal community development effort, (5) collaborate and work with other SCSGE specialists to assist local governments, individuals, and other client groups develop sustainable natural resource-based recreation and tourism programs, and (6) enhance professional skill level and expertise in areas of land use planning and coastal resource management through professional development activities.
Title: The Implementation of Stormwater Best Management Practices for Coastal South Carolina: The Oak Terrace Preserve Research Project
Principal Investigator: Dwayne Porter (University of South Carolina)
Project number: R/ER-34
Research will be continued in this Phase II proposal to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as Low Impact Development Practices (LIDs) that are being constructed in actual residential developments in southeastern coastal regions. Furthermore, the work will identify and evaluate the obstacles (e.g., educational and regulatory) that may prevent the implementation of LIDs in coastal South Carolina. Stormwater management strategies traditionally promote the use of BMPs, such as detention ponds and vegetated buffers, however recent research in southeastern coastal regions suggest that these systems may not be efficient in these landscapes. The objectives for this project will be to (1) develop water budgets, flow rates, and pollutant masses and loadings for both pre-, during- and post- construction phases of a treatment (LIDs) in the Oak Terrace Preserve micro-watershed as well as develop post-construction conditions within a micro-watershed of a bordering, older residential neighborhood employing curb and gutter techniques, (2) compare the hydrodynamics and pollutant loadings of the LID micro-watershed in Oak Terrace Preserve to the suburban (curb and gutter) micro-watershed, (3) promote public awareness and understanding of watershed concepts and the link between development and water quality through outreach and education, (4) use the Oak Terrace Preserve as a LID demonstration site for land use planners, developers, engineers, scientists, regulatory agencies, community officials, and the public, and (5) identify obstacles and opportunities for constructing LID stormwater BMPs in coastal South Carolina.
Title: Storm Hydrograph Separation Analysis for Paired Coastal Watersheds: An Assessment of Pre-development Site Conditions
Principal Investigator: Dan Hitchcock (Clemson University)
Project number: R/ER-35
This project will initiate the development of a stormwater quantity and quality assessment method in watersheds with shallow water tables that are undergoing land-use change in southeastern US coastal landscapes. In coastal areas with shallow water tables and low gradient topography, surface and groundwater coupling complicates the feasibility of pre- and post-development flow prediction, including peak flow rates, using the Soil Conservation Service curve numbers (CN) method. This interaction also potentially diminishes the effectiveness of wet detention ponds for water quantity and quality management due to groundwater influence while reducing the potential soil water storage and, consequently, the effectiveness of infiltration practices due to shallow soil saturation and impeded percolation. In short, groundwater-surface water interactions (pathways and contributions of each during a storm event) in coastal areas with shallow water tables are not appropriately considered in current pre- and post-development flow assessments and in the stormwater management practice selection and design process. There are five objectives of this proposed work (1) to quantify hydrologic interactions (surface and groundwater) and develop storm hydrograph separation techniques for two comparable headwater streams draining coastal watersheds using natural hydrologic tracers (geochemical end-member mixing analysis), (2) to compare and contrast the interactions within and between the two comparable watersheds (one is slated for and is partially comprised of existing development, the other has no existing or planned development), (3) to determine feasibility of assigning SCS CN within these watersheds for rainfall-runoff estimates, (4) to determine the general feasibility of installing infiltration practices versus wet detention ponds based on hydrologic interactions, and (5) to disseminate these results to regulatory agencies, local county and municipal officials and planning and public works staff, and other professional decision-makers, such as developers, engineers, and landscape architects.
Title: Investigation and Mitigation of Algal Blooms and Pollutants in Coastal Stormwater Ponds and Adjacent Tidal Creek and Estuarine Systems
Principal Investigator: Dianne Greenfield (SC Department of Natural Resources – Marine Resources Division)
Project number: R/ER-36
New research proposed by the investigator is intended to assist land managers and homeowners in choosing the best mitigation strategies possible for harmful algal blooms while working within the existing landscape. Misapplication and overuse of chemical algaecide is a concern for the lake managers, the public and the aquatic systems under management. The short and long-term effects of herbicide application for controlling algal blooms are unknown because research and management are not yet collaborative. This research initiative is intended to build a cooperative link with lake managers to provide guidance for long-term solutions for these eutrophic systems. The ultimate goal of this joint effort between research and management is to improve pond management strategies, educating all stakeholders to the appropriate use of algaecides, with a focus on developing sustainable and stable pond systems. The objectives will be to (1) determine the fate of harmful algae blooming in coastal lagoons with outfalls into adjacent tidal creeks, (2) investigate transfer of pollutants (high nutrients, chlorophyll a, total suspended solids, E. coli and Enterococci) from coastal lagoons into their adjacent tidal creeks, (3) investigate efficacy of existing management strategies on harmful blooms (Biological control: tilapia, carp; Physical control: ultrasonic application; Chemical control: copper algaecides, hydrogen peroxide solutions; Watershed management: vegetated buffers), (4) determine the levels of toxins and pollutants during bloom management in test ponds, analyze toxin levels in water, sediment, fish and mussels exposed to algal blooms, and (5) report results of the research and recommend improved mitigation strategy for algal blooms to various stakeholders.
Last updated: 1/4/2010 1:57:19 PM