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Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Summer 2011 issue: Water’s Edge: Managing Coastal Runoff

Focus Questions

  • Describe detention ponds in terms of what they are, how they are made, and what purpose(s) they are to serve.
  • What is the difference between detention ponds found on Kiawah Island and other detention ponds in coastal South Carolina?
  • Name and describe three practices of Low Impact Development (LID)
  • What are harmful algal blooms (HABs)? What conditions must be present in order for these to occur? What are the impacts of HABs?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Standards

7th grade: Ecology: The Biotic and Abiotic Environment
7-4.1: Explain the interaction among changes in the environment due to natural hazards (including landslides, wildfires, and floods), changes in populations, and limiting factors (including climate and the availability of food and water, space, and shelter).

7-4.5: Summarize how the location and movement of water on Earth’s surface through groundwater zones and surface-water drainage basins, called watersheds, are important to ecosystems and to human activities.

9th – 12th grade: Biology
B-6.6: Explain how human activities (including population growth, technology, and consumption of resources) affect the physical and chemical cycles and processes of Earth.

ES-5.1: Summarize the location, movement, and energy transfers involved in the movement of water on Earth’s surface (including lakes, surface-water drainage basins [watersheds], freshwater wetlands, and groundwater zones).

Lesson Links

Virtual Watershed Tours
South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) has three educational virtual tours featuring watershed systems in South Carolina. Go to  and take a historical look at development along rivers in Columbia. Continue your journey toward the sea as you click on “The Estuary” virtual tour. Wrap up your investigations with a trip on the Catawba River. (6th – 12th)

Discover Your Watershed
Curious about where your watershed begins and where it eventually flows? Find out your location by using Google Earth. It’s an exciting way to learn about the watersheds in your area and understand how your location ties in with areas upstream and downstream from you! Click on  and click on the green download button to explore your watershed! Or go to and click on the “Locate Your Watershed” link to explore your watershed and learn about local efforts in your area! (6th-12th)

Stormwater Runoff: The Impacts and Effects

  • Stormwater runoff naturally occurs each time it rains – what the ground cannot absorb quickly enough ends up “running off” to another location. Stormwater has become a topic for concern because of the pollutants that often contaminate the runoff and end up in our water sources. The Educator’s Toolbox found at offers several creative lesson plans focusing on the problems with stormwater runoff and what you can do about it! (9th-12th)
  • Development can work in harmony with the environment by employing sustainable or “green” building practices. The Educator Toolbox found at provides an opportunity for students to investigate options for “green infrastructure.” (9th-12th)
  • Tag-A-Toxin and Head for the Hills! These are just a few of the new lessons found in the suite of activities “We All Live Downstream” developed by Clemson’s Carolina Clear program! All of the activities can be downloaded from the site: . (4th – 12th)

Additional Information and Resource Links

  • Go to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to obtain copies of their free publications regarding watersheds, water quality, and a variety of other topics! . (5th – 12th)
  • Check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Phytoplankton Monitoring Network to get additional information about phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms. Opportunities to get involved with a monitoring program are described. . (5th – 12th)

A Better Look: Travel Destinations

  • The Edisto Interpretive Center at Edisto Beach State Park is a great local example of a “green building.” Pervious pavement, native plants, sustainable building products, and a variety of other green building practices were incorporated in the construction of this building. Learn more about the park by visiting or take a look at the South Carolina Wildlife TV Show segment featuring the building at