Agriculture and commercial development in coastal South Carolina is very dependent upon the effective management of storm runoff and shallow groundwater conditions typical of the region. The prevention of flooding in urban areas and ensuring arable soils in agricultural areas govern most aspects of stormwater runoff control here, typically in the form of stormwater ponds and channelized ditches. These two stormwater management practices tend to circumvent more resilient and assimilative ecosystem services otherwise offered by streams and wetlands in undisturbed landscapes. The loss of ecosystems services in these modified drainage systems is an area of much needed research. Additionally, current stormwater runoff management does not accommodate for daily and seasonal climatic variability, both under current climate conditions and those projected by climate change scenarios. The proliferation of ponds and ditches in the region has come at a mounting ecological cost to the state with preliminary work suggesting that traditional water management strategies can increase sediment loads and short-circuit the movement of pollutants from landscape to ocean. My research focusses on extending our understanding of how the two big stressors on coastal hydrologic processes – population increase and climate change, affect the movement of sediment and water from landscape to ocean. Ultimately, the research hopes to develop strategies to ensure the sustainable management of water resources in coastal South Carolina, essential to the safety and well-being of her water-bound citizens.
Hobcaw Environmental Sensor Project
This project is part of a wider study that aims to examine hydrologic, biogeochemical, and forest productivity processes along a hydroperiod and salinity gradient. The site chosen for this work is a tidally influenced coastal swamp called Strawberry Swamp. The study would not only provide critical information regarding ecosystem processes in a region sensitive to climate change, but also establish a foundation for an environmental sensor network using technological innovations pioneered at Clemson University.
Crabtree Canal Restoration Initiative
This project aims to provide local county agencies with the tools to carry out effective channel restoration to improve the fluvial functioning and stability of a channelized stream. The stream under study is Crabtree Canal and its tributaries that serve as the primary arteries for stormwater flow in the City of Conway, SC. The project is a collaborative project with Coastal Carolina University, the City of Conway and Horry County Stormwater Management.
Pee Dee Minimum Instream Flows Project
This project aims to quantify what the minimum allowable flows necessary to maintain basic ecosystem functioning in the Pee Dee River basin in South Carolina are. Using a combination of field sampling, and statistical modeling we hope to arrive at a better understanding of how minimum instream flow requirements can be met. The study was conducted over a five year period beginning in June 2009. Funding was obtained from the PeeDee Endowment Fund. This project is a collaborative project with scientists from Clemson University, the United States Geological Survey, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Clemson scientists involved with the project are Dr. Dara Park and Dr. Daniel Hitchcock.
Green Infrastructure Design for Stormwater Management
This project funded by SC Sea Grant Consortium and in collaboration with Dr. D. R. Hitchcock seeks to determine the efficiencies of bioretention cells in coastal landscapes in the management of stormwater. System specific monitoring include rainfall, surface storage water level, water table position, inflows and outflows, and soil moisture. Stormwater samples are collected periodically (event-based and seasonally) for surface and groundwater nutrient and bacterial analyses. Reference wells in the proximity of each system are being monitored and sampled.
For more information and graduate research opportunities, contact Dr. Jayakaran.