2012-2014 Research Projects: Sustainable Coastal Development and Economy
Project: Green Infrastructure Design for Stormwater Management in Coastal South Carolina: An Assessment of Eco-hydrological Function
Anand Jayakaran, Clemson University
Coastal planners need a better understanding of hydrological and ecological mechanisms to achieve design targets for stormwater volume and flow reduction. Today, minimal information exists about the hydrologic function and performance of vegetative systems (rain gardens, for instance) in landscapes with shallow water tables where surface and groundwater interactions are prevalent. Research is needed to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of these practices in reducing stormwater volume and improving water quality.
The research team plans to (1) define surface and groundwater contributions to hydrology as well as nutrient, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and bacteria loading in bioretention (rain garden) systems, (2) quantify the unsaturated zone and saturated groundwater response to individual storm events in the subsoil of the practice, (3) compare and contrast the hydrologic interactions within and between surface and groundwater for these types of systems, (4) compare and contrast the nutrient, PAH, and bacteria removal efficiencies within the systems, (5) quantify nutrient and bacteria processing rates and rate limiting steps for these types of systems (as appropriate), (6) determine appropriate site conditions and subsequent requirements, design criteria, and specifications for bioretention systems, and (7) convey these results to practitioners and decision-makers via workshops, presentations at appropriate meetings, and an online mapping tool and hydrographical monitoring network.
Contact for Questions
Anand Jayakaran (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Project: Assessing Aeration as a Means of Improving Stormwater Pond Performance and Reduced Organic Loading to the Coastal Zone
Erik Smith, Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, University of South Carolina
Increasing urbanization of the South Carolina coastal zone has led to the proliferation of stormwater detention ponds. Many stormwater ponds accumulate nutrients that stimulate excessive phytoplankton growth, which results in high concentrations of organic matter, especially dissolved organic carbon. Once discharged, this material represents an input of biological oxygen demand (BOD) that can negatively impact oxygen conditions in coastal water. Algicide (typically copper sulfate) is commonly used to control excessive phytoplankton growth and herbicides are used to control submerged and emergent ‘weedy’ vegetation. These treatments require regular application and can lead to artificial phytoplankton boom and bust cycles that can exacerbate BOD loading as phytoplankton die from chemical treatment.
Here, we focus on an alternative to chemical treatment for the reduction of phytoplankton growth and associated production of BOD: the use of aerating fountains. Our objectives are to (1) determine how phytoplankton growth and community composition respond to aeration as a means of altering the physical environment in controlled experiments in both the field and laboratory, (2) quantify the amount of BOD available for export to receiving waters, (3) assess effects of aeration on nitrogen and phosphorus (forms and concentrations) in detention pond waters and bottom sediments, as a means of testing the capacity of well oxygenated bottoms to enhance nutrient storage/removal by sediments, and (4) incorporate research findings into recommendations for use of fountains or aerators in stormwater pond management to maximize aesthetic value of ponds while minimizing impacts to downstream receiving waters and disseminate these findings.
Contact for Questions
Erik Smith (email@example.com)
Project: Understanding Demand for Value-Added Products and Services Associated with For-Hire Boat Trips on the South Carolina Coast
Robert Brookover and Laura Jodice, Clemson University
Recreational charter fishing boat operators on the South Carolina coast must adapt to higher fuel costs, regulatory limitations, competition, and customers seeking lower prices. A promising strategy for these operators might be trips with new or expanded experiences such as interpretation of fish ecology, marine resource management, local history, or even offshore energy development. We know that coastal tourists are interested in guided nature and historical tours, but not whether anglers and/or non-anglers would be more attracted to offshore trips with these experiences. We do not know how much charter operators are including these experiences or their preparation for delivery of information on these topics that is credible, timely, interesting and engaging for customers. A consumer survey (anglers & nonanglers) and assessment of capacity and training needs will be valuable.
This research will explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges faced by charter operators in their efforts to non-fishing value-added services and experiences to anglers and non-anglers visiting or recreating on the South Carolina coast, (2) assess the demand for value-added charter experiences and services among anglers and non-anglers visiting and/or recreating by examining the relative importance of fishing and non-fishing trip attributes, and (3) analyze the gap between capacity of charter operators and consumer demand for providing quality value-added experiences and services that involve outreach and interpretation on marine ecology, fisheries management, history and culture, and offshore energy development.
Project: Examining Capacity for a Cooperative Seafood Tourism Trail as a Value-Added Marine Resource-Based Recreation and Tourism Product on the South Carolina Coast
Robert Brookover, Clemson University
South Carolina offers unique experiences related to seafood harvest and production, maritime history and culture of fishing, marine fisheries ecology, and seafood culinary interests. Coastal tourists are supportive of sustainability initiatives for local marine-resource dependent businesses. A seafood-themed drive trail could be an incubator for entrepreneurship, creating more opportunities for marketing local seafood products through a unified brand image. There are other theme-based trails in the region, but no studies have assessed the potential for a South Carolina seafood trail. Research is needed to assess capacity for cooperation and partnership for this type of business incubator. The S.C. Seafood Alliance is supportive, and there is potential to link in with agri-tourism initiatives in the Pee Dee and adjacent rural areas.
The researchers plan to (1) identify all potential business participants and tourism planning partners relevant to a seafood related tourism trail on the South Carolina coast, (2) gather input from potential trail stakeholders (businesses, tourism planners) on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to formation of a seafood trail, and (3) facilitate information sharing and collaborative thinking among potential business partners and tourism management organizations regarding development of a S.C. Seafood Trail.
Project: Coastal Livelihoods and the Local Sense of Place: Assessing Social-Ecological Relationships and Environmental Values in the Face of Demographic Changes in Mount Pleasant, Awendaw, and McClellanville, South Carolina
Annette Watson, College of Charleston
Recently released census data affirms that South Carolina is experiencing some of the highest rates of in-migration in the United States, and this in-migration is concentrated along the coast. Many of these migrants come from cities to enjoy the amenities of rural landscapes, including a “sense of place.” The idea of “sense of place” refers to a person’s knowledge, perceptions, and values of specific locations.
The research team plans to (1) determine the senses of place experienced by life-long residents, (2) spatially measure access to coastal resources historically used by life-long residents, (3) determine the relationship between long-term residents’ economic practices and their environmental values, (4) test whether different community identities can find commonalities in their values, and (5) develop common indicators that community leaders can use to track changes through time.
Contact for Questions
Annette Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org)