S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Fosters Improved Planning and Understanding of Flood Risks

Flood resilience takes many forms, and thus S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and its partners attack the issue from a variety of fronts.

Funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program have been utilized to create parcel-level flood maps to enhance the region’s response to current and future water hazards; to provide analysis to help multiple stakeholders move from resilience planning to implementation; and to create strategies and forums for sharing science-based information to educate stakeholders and enhance planning.

Norm Levine, director of the Lowcountry Hazards Center, housed at the College of Charleston, created flood maps factoring in extremely accurate laser-measured elevations, stormwater infrastructure, soil type, percent of impervious surfaces, tidal stages, and rainfall amounts.

The Consortium and its partners organized several community gatherings to raise the awareness of residents and business owners. For instance, about 75 residents of neighborhoods around flood-prone Filbin Creek participated in the North Charleston Flood Expo, learning about resources that can help protect their homes and property. In turn, they also helped ground-truth Levine’s flood maps and shared concerns with city staffers.

Consortium extension specialists also met with planners and stormwater directors in several municipalities and communities in Charleston County to discuss resilience strategies. For instance, they helped the City of Folly Beach craft a sea level rise report and develop new beach and marsh management plans that take into account increasing flood potential.

Workshops and less structured coffee hours brought together leaders of various flood-related sectors, fostering a common language and understanding of water-related impacts throughout Charleston County.

The grant was awarded in 2015 to the Consortium on behalf of the Charleston Resilience Network, a collaboration of public, private, and non-profit organizations seeking to enhance the resilience of the region.