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Reducing Stormwater Impacts from Coastal Development Using Ecological Strategies

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  077081.(doi:10.13031/2013.23556)
Authors:   Daniel R Hitchcock, Thomas M Williams
Keywords:   stormwater, coast, development, best management practices, shallow water table, low impact

Development in coastal South Carolina, USA, is occurring at a tremendous rate. Existing developed areas contribute to a significant increase in the percentage of impervious surface area per total area of land, resulting in increased stormwater runoff and decreased infiltration. The low topographic relief and shallow water table, however, present interesting challenges in stormwater management practice decision-making. Retention ponds are the typical stormwater management practice in coastal South Carolina; however, these ponds often become sources of various pollutants. Ecologically-based systems, such as constructed wetlands, vegetated buffers, and bioretention cells are examples of solutions that may be implemented to address water quality issues, specifically those associated with stormwater. This paper focuses on various proposed studies as part of a larger research program. The overall program objective is the assessment of various systems and strategies for mitigating water quality/quantity impacts due to the conversion of coastal forested areas to developed residential and commercial areas. In this paper, overarching questions include (1) what systems are effective in coastal South Carolina for stormwater management and water quality improvement between upland area land uses ( residential and commercial development) and downstream water resources (creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes), and (2) how is shallow water table hydrology (water quantity) altered and downstream water quality impacted when forested areas are converted to urban areas? This work is dedicated to understanding the impacts of polluted runoff, while identifying, implementing, and evaluating ecological stormwater management practicies and low impact development (LID) solutions to reduce potential impacts in coastal areas with shallow water tables.

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