Coastal development study planned

By Peter Kent

bird in marshClemson environmental researchers have a rare opportunity to study coastal development through an agreement with Mandalay Limited Partnership. The agreement allows long-term studies of a new residential, resort and commercial community in Georgetown County.

Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science will establish the research program on the Arcadia East property, a 3,500-acre tract located east of Highway 17. Plans for the multiphase development include three golf courses, single-family residential communities, a retirement community, a commercial center, village center and a 250-room hotel resort complex. The tract was a part of Arcadia Plantation.

William Conner, Clemson’s forest wetland specialist at the Baruch Institute, will be the lead scientist for the project. The long-term research agreement gives Conner and other scientists a chance to document changes in the environment associated with conversion of forested land to residential and commercial use. Possible environmental changes include overland and subsurface flow of water, water quality, vegetation species composition and growth, quality and quantity of wildlife habitat and wildlife species.

Lucille V. Pate, owner of the Arcadia property and chief executive officer of Mandalay, championed the Clemson agreement. Mrs. Pate’s goal is to develop Arcadia East in a manner that maximizes conservation of the area’s natural resources and preserves its unique character. She sees the agreement as “the perfect complement to our goal of developing this portion of Arcadia in a manner that preserves its natural beauty and provides a healthy environment for the native wildlife.”

George Askew, director of Clemson’s Baruch Institute, views the agreement as “a chance to look at the environment before, during and after a large-scale development that is designed to be environmentally friendly and to establish a basis for educating other developers and land managers that have similar environmental concerns.”

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