GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 223-7
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


KNAPP, Landon, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, Low Country Hazards Center, 202 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29424, LEVINE, Norman, College of Charleston Department of Geology, 202 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29424-3501; Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 202 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29424 and KAUFMAN, Charlie, South Caroliina Emergency Management Division, Columbia, SC 29201

Since colonial times communities of the southeast U.S. coast have faced a suite of environmental hazards which continue to grow in strength and severity in response to a changing climate. While the threat of a major disaster event constantly looms over the region, coastal residents are seeing increasing number of chronic stressors such as high-intensity rainfall events, tidal flooding, and changes groundwater tables. Although geoscience professionals possess tools, methodologies, and the knowledge to help minimize the impacts of such phenomena, the municipal representatives often are not well versed in foundational geoscience concepts. Compounding the issue is a lack of awareness in identifying geoscience professionals who are appropriate for their needs. This disconnect leads to an underutilization of the geotechnical resources available at public agencies and academic institutions.

To bridge this gap, the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium (SCSGC) has funded a science engagement specialist with a goal of connecting local governments to geotechnical experts in the region. The position is housed between SCSGC and the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at the College of Charleston to provide the specialist with direct access to the resources and experts at the university. This partnership has serves as a pioneer for the co-production of knowledge in the region, where the development of science projects begins with stakeholder engagement and is driven throughout by the needs and goals of each locality – thereby ensuring real-world applicability. Each project is powered by student research as they learn complex analytical processes under the supervision of subject-matter experts. The partnership has resulted in outcomes including: characterizing the seasonal and pulsed fluctuations of the depth and salinity of the shallow aquifer of a barrier island community, the development of historical trends and future projections of salt marsh migration in response to anthropogenic and climate stressors, and the creation of science based decision tools for multiple municipalities. The projects developed and completed by this partnership are leveraging the co-production of knowledge between geoscience experts and stakeholders to support regional municipalities and their constituents.