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White egret wading.

Program Focus Area

Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

The natural features of coastal South Carolina are diverse and striking, and include significant shoreline, tidal bottom, salt marsh, and freshwater wetland habitats. The coastline is characterized by more than 165 lineal miles of beaches and dotted with more than 40 barrier and sea islands.

How the Consortium Supports Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium supports research and outreach to generate and deliver science-based information and programs in response to the needs of local communities and decision-makers in the following areas:

  • Natural ocean processes such as tides and erosion.
  • The health and restoration of coastal and ocean ecosystems.
  • Changes in climate and weather patterns, and their impact.
  • Best management of stormwater ponds and other infrastructure.
  • Determining the ecological, economic, and social value of natural resources.
  • Monitoring water quality and water pollution.
  • Measuring impact of human activity on the coast and coastal waterways.
  • Minimizing the introduction, spread, and negative impacts of coastal and oceanic invasive species.
  • The long-term conservation and sustainable use of the coast’s natural resources.

Current Research Projects

Every two years, the Consortium asks researchers to submit proposals for the funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the National Sea Grant College Program. Each project undergoes a rigorous peer review. The selected projects support critical research goals for our state and region.

Marsh in the evening at high tide.

Rain and Tide: Assessing Coastal Stream Flow and Compound Flooding Risk

Principal Investigator: Tim Callahan, College of Charleston
Co-Principal Investigator: Joshua Robinson, Robinson Design Engineers

Flooding is a widely recognized problem throughout coastal South Carolina. The goal of this project is to provide—through the use of a user-friendly map-based tool—site-specific information on stormwater runoff and tidally-driven inundation to areas in the coastal zone where these two processes exhibit or have the potential for compound flooding risk.

Waves washing up on a beach seen from above.

Coastal and Estuarine Acidification in Long Bay, South Carolina

Principal Investigator: Angelos Hannides, Coastal Carolina University
Co-Principal Investigators: Danielle Viso and Susan Libes, Coastal Carolina University; Janet Reimer, Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN); Emily Hall, SOCAN and Mote Marine Laboratory

This project seeks to provide a first characterization of coastal ocean acidification using the waters of Long Bay, South Carolina where hypoxia and acidification have already been documented. The project will provide researchers and coastal managers with new knowledge of the degree and extent of the coastal ocean acidification problem in S.C. waters, and the main drivers behind it.

Black-crowned night heron in water.

How Does Disturbance Shape Avian Community Composition and Diversity in Ephemeral Wetlands?

Principal Investigator: Daniel McGlinn, College of Charleston
Co-Principal Investigators: Stacey Lance, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory; Lisa Lord, The Longleaf Alliance; Lucy Davis, College of Charleston

Wetlands provide people with critical ecosystem services and serve as important repositories of biodiversity. However, little is known about the value of small isolated ephemeral wetlands. Researchers will examine how disturbances—prescribed fire and tree-thinning treatments—can alter ephemeral wetlands and bird populations.

2020-2021 Impacts and Accomplishments

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s report of our successes in advancing healthy coastal ecosystems in coastal South Carolina.

Resources by Topic

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s published information and project results in areas related to healthy coastal ecosystems.