Did you know that South Carolina is home to roughly 3.8 million acres of wetlands, with 95% occurring in the coastal zone? From salt marshes to cypress swamps to Carolina Bays, wetlands make up much the landscape we call home. The many types of wetland habitats found in coastal South Carolina provide a diverse range of benefits for local communities. These include water quality improvements, flood storage, wave buffering, wildlife habitat, and more. In order to protect the important services they provide, wetlands themselves can be protected in a number of ways.
The NI-WB NERR Coastal Training Program is hosting a pair of training webinars focused on how wetland buffers are a valuable tool for protecting wetland habitats and services. These trainings were organized in partnership with the ACE Basin NERR, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and Clemson Cooperative Extension. In order to help participants prepare to learn about the role of wetland buffers, the NI-WB and ACE Basin NERRS created two videos that cover introductory information about wetland characteristics and types of wetland habitats. You can view the videos here:
What is a Wetland? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYYuKGkP6uM
Wetland Habitats of Coastal SC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEOMsljYv6E
Over 150 participants attended the first session and learned about the science of wetland buffers and design considerations. The audience included local government staff, including planners and planning commissions, private landowners, real estate professionals, developers, engineers, and other professionals working on land use issues. In the training, wetland researchers described the connections between upland activity and wetland functions, and how buffers can serve a protective role. Presenters also addressed the different regulatory roles in SC that deal with wetland protections. A recording of the webinar is available here (webinar starts at 28:00 minutes).
Session 2 of the Wetland Buffer webinar was held on March 2nd. This training included presentations describing how to put wetland buffers into practice. Over 70 participants heard case studies from local municipalities provided tips and tools for applying wetland buffers. A recording of the webinar is available here.