August 06, 2021
Integrated Watershed Study
Provided by the Kiawah Conservancy
Tidal estuaries and marshes are the most biologically productive habitats globally and provide many benefits to humans and wildlife. Water resources in coastal habitats are dynamic and can be impacted by various contributing factors to water quality. Rainfall accumulation and stormwater runoff significantly influence the quality of water resources on Kiawah Island.
This newly funded Integrated Watershed Study will obtain equipment and capacity to monitor water quality in estuarine waters around Kiawah Island continuously, expand monitoring of climatic conditions into more regions on the island and analyze and integrate climate data into comprehensive assessments to help plan land management practices to conserve natural groundwater resources.
The benefits of this project for the island will be to:
- Better understand water resources /through integrative analysis
- Initiate water quality monitoring in tidal salt marshes
- Develop a water budget for planning preservation and restoration efforts, low-impact development practices, and green infrastructure projects
- Enhance monitoring of localized rainfall accumulation
- Assist the Town in pursuing goals listed in the amended comprehensive plan by providing information about protecting natural resources and promoting community resilience, including:
- Development strategies based on objective data to better respond to impacts due to flooding and sea-level rise
- Move forward with recommendations from scientists at the College of Charleston to incorporate a better understanding of impacts to the marsh
- Understand the health of tidal salt marshes and influencing land use based on efforts through a federally funded resilience project
- Improve the community’s FEMA CRS rating by measuring environmental data and highlighting the need for green infrastructure practices to promote onsite infiltration and treatment of stormwater runoff