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Groundwater and Infrastructure in Beaufort County Focus of $300K Grant

Jun 20, 2022

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, a multidisciplinary team of scientists, and Beaufort County’s planning department recently launched a study called “Beaufort County Adapts: Sea Level Impacts Beneath Our Feet.” They will analyze how sea-level rise impacts groundwater, infrastructure, and social-system capacity, such as municipal services, in order to help community leaders make informed decisions about risks and strategies.

Two researchers use a long tool to drill a well.

Photo: University of South Carolina researcher Alicia Wilson and graduate students install a groundwater monitoring well. Photo courtesy of Caylor Romines, Beaufort County Open Land Trust.

The two-year study is made possible by a grant of nearly $300,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office to the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. Working on the study is a team of multidisciplinary scientists and collaborative specialists at the University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, and S.C. Department of Natural Resources, as well as mapping experts and community engagement specialists at the Consortium and specialists from Beaufort County’s planning department.

The study will focus on small communities within Beaufort County that need targeted efforts to enhance their ability to withstand the impacts of sea-level rise on groundwater levels and underground infrastructure. The research team will collaborate with community members and the Beaufort County planning department on the siting and monitoring of 10 groundwater wells and how to use the results to develop and implement sea-level rise adaptation measures. Contact Brita Jessen, Interdisciplinary Research and Partnerships lead, at (843) 953-6417 for more details.