The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium collaborated with the Kiawah Conservancy to secure $82,000 from the Town of Kiawah Island to assess fluctuations in the groundwater table, specifically monitoring changes in water-table depth and salinity concentrations. Groundwater, or water that is present underneath the surface, is a critical component of an ecologically healthy barrier island. But as sea levels change, the inundation of saltwater during flooding events, extreme tides, and other factors has the potential to decrease the availability of fresh groundwater.
Photo by Jennifer Woody, Kiawah Conservancy.
The Kiawah Conservancy, with assistance from Dr. Tim Callahan and College of Charleston graduate students, installed 24 wells across the island where continuous data are being collected and analyzed to inform decisions on local sea-level rise resilience measures. One such application resulting from the groundwater data has been the identification of effective locations for the construction of rain gardens, which capture rainfall and release it into the groundwater system.