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A Socioeconomic Evaluation of Stormwater Control Measures to Guide Decision-Making in Coastal South Carolina

Principal Investigators

Marzieh Motallebi and Dan Hitchcock, Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science
Erik Smith, University of South Carolina Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences
Susan Lovelace, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Project Information

2018-2020 Sustainable Coastal Development and Economy

Project Number: R/CG-02

Research Description

Effectively managing stormwater has been an ongoing challenge in coastal South Carolina, and coastal development dramatically increases the rate of stormwater runoff and contributes to the degradation of coastal resources. Stormwater management is thus a vital and required component of coastal zone development in SC. To this end, a great deal of research has been conducted on stormwater management practices and a wealth of information exists on the design, management, and maintenance of a variety of conventional and more innovative stormwater control measures (SCMs). Where stormwater management research has been lacking, however, is in informing a full socioeconomic understanding regarding the various options for SCM implementation decisions. A socioeconomic perspective that includes a full cost analysis and benefit valuation of SCMs as well as an understanding of social acceptability is critical to ensuring communities cost-effectively achieve their water quality goals when planning and implementing SCMs.

The overall goal is to build on the Low Impact Development in Coastal South Carolina: a Planning and Design Guide by adding necessary socioeconomic knowledge to better inform SCM decision-making in coastal SC. To meet this goal, the PI proposes the following objectives: (1) Identify data deficiencies for SCM cost estimates and obtain additional information to incorporate into analysis for more robust cost estimates; (2) Measure total cost of adopting SCMs over their life span; (3) Calculate marginal cost (MC) of the selected SCMs; (4) Measure economic benefits and values of ecosystem services; (5) Determine social acceptability and preferences for SCMs; (6) Synthesize factors that influence willingness to pay for SCM installation benefits and (7) Dissemination of results of this research to stakeholders and researchers through workshops, webinars, and articles. Results will be disseminated to regulatory agencies, resource managers, local county and municipal officials and planning and public works staff, community associations and other professional decision-makers such as developers, engineers, and landscape architects. This information will provide a scientific basis allowing for improved recommendations toward selecting more beneficial and accepted SCMs in coastal counties of South Carolina.

Contact for Questions

Dr. Marzieh Motallebi (