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November 25, 2008

DNR co-sponsors low impact development, storm water management seminar

The ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Coastal Training Program recently co-sponsored a one day seminar for developers, engineers, architects, contractors and planners interested in low impact development along the coast. The late October free event was held in North Charleston at The Noisette Company’s office and provided an opportunity to learn about low impact development (LID) strategies for managing stormwater, specifically bioretention swales and pervious surfaces.  

The Coastal Training Program (CTP) is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The program aims to provide science-based information, tools, training and networking opportunities to coastal decision-makers to help promote informed decision making and sound stewardship of conservation of coastal resources. The CTP is a part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, with programs existing at two Reserves in S.C.: North Inlet-Winyah Bay in Georgetown County; and the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto (ACE) Basin in Colleton County.

The event featured Elias Deeb, from The Noisette Company, Mike Horton, from Davis & Floyd, and Lisa Vandiver, a doctoral candidate from The University of South Carolina. They addressed lessons learned during the Oak Terrace Preserve site development process, ongoing site project management, as well as technical aspects of LID implementation. The workshop also incorporated a site-tour of the Oak Terrace Preserve neighborhood in North Charleston, a sustainable community designed by The Noisette Company that has integrated many LID practices, including pocket parks, pervious alleyways, bioswales, forebays and the preservation of massive oaks and mature trees. Bioswales are an integral concept of innovative stormwater management. They are created alongside streets sloped at a specific gradient towards shallow swales that are lined with porous soil. Native plants and trees are planted in the swale to absorb water and filter runoff from residential areas. The site-tour component provided the group with visuals of the various LID strategies that have been implemented at Oak Terrace Preserve. Participants noted that the workshop was useful for informing about the many benefits of LID, including, "How high density can work utilizing bioswale techniques for stormwater runoff."

The workshop evolved when the North Inlet-Winyah Bay CTP convened a group of water quality scientists in mid-2005 to create a plan for monitoring a massive redevelopment project in North Charleston, The Noisette Project, which has an innovative site design and stormwater plan.  The CTP coordinator recognized that this re-development project had tremendous potential as a compelling local demonstration project for creative stormwater management and site design. The project has been a featured case study in two previous CTP training events. The water quality monitoring effort is now fully funded and the subject of Vandiver’s doctoral research.   The LID workshop was one scope of the outreach component of the overall project. The two CTP’s in S.C. will be hosting additional informal demonstration seminars on the stormwater management and site design of this area.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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