Community Science Salt Marsh Restoration and Monitoring Project
About the Project
The Community Science Salt Marsh Restoration and Monitoring Project engages communities to support habitat resiliency and ecosystem services throughout the urbanized watershed in Charleston County, S.C.
Volunteers participate in salt marsh restoration by creating oyster reefs and cultivating and transplanting smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora). Volunteers become trained community scientists in data collection methods, including use of the Anecdata© web-based and smartphone app.
Through Anecdata©, community members can record, view, and access salt marsh restoration data, such as the number of Spartina seeds collected or number of plants transplanted. Long-term monitoring of the restoration sites is also conducted by community scientists.
The project expands upon the Consortium’s From Seeds to Shoreline® (S2S) program model, which engages K-12 students and teachers in cultivating and transplanting Spartina alterniflora, to include adult volunteers from local Charleston-area communities.
This project is a four-year initiative (2019–2023) supported through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) grant awarded to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Partners on this project include the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, South Carolina Aquarium, and Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
During the fall and winter of 2021, volunteers assisted with the collection of over 500,000 Spartinaseeds from local Charleston salt marshes, which were then placed in a dormancy phase for approximately six weeks. In February and March 2022, more than 350 volunteers assisted in planting an estimated 60,000 seedlings at greenhouses located at the College of Charleston and SCDNR. The plants were cultivated between February and June 2022, when the young Spartina plants were transplanted by volunteers to five salt marsh locations within the Charleston Watershed.
The project is currently underway with its fourth and final year.