A large percentage of South Carolina’s economy is driven by the popularity of beaches as tourist destinations. Hypoxic (low-oxygen) conditions have been documented in the nearshore coastal waters of Long Bay, South Carolina, during summer months over the past several years. To maintain a healthy environment for recreation it is necessary to assess the impacts of land use on groundwater discharge to the area. Researchers measured radon activities of shallow beachface groundwater and nearshore bottom waters to estimate mixing rates and submarine groundwater discharge in Long Bay. They successfully developed a mixing model based on these measurements, which helped determine that natural phenomena such as limited mixing and submarine groundwater discharge (both previously overlooked) can significantly influence nearshore water quality and lead to hypoxic conditions. This model can be applied to other types of marine environments to help determine the causes of hypoxia, and as such could be a valuable tool in maintaining coastal water quality, especially in highly developed (urban) areas.
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Community leaders, decision-makers, and staff need detailed knowledge of the resources their community possesses in order to make informed planning decisions that enhance the community while protecting the quality of the environment. Developed in partnership with Clemson University’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, the S.C. NEMO Program, Carolina Clear, and the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Community Resource Inventory provides an atlas of natural and cultural resources available in South Carolina coastal communities.
Forging and maintaining outreach and education partnerships is vital to building and sustaining effective and pertinent outreach programming. The South Carolina Coastal Information Network (SCCIN) enhances coordination of coastal community outreach efforts in South Carolina by avoiding duplication of efforts and minimizing the number of meetings/workshops that community leaders and staff are asked to attend, leveraging scarce resources, and maximizing program benefits and expected outcomes. Through the SCCIN, members strive to provide quality training and educational materials to coastal decision-makers and the public in an effective and efficient manner.