Carolina Clear expands stormwater initiatives
By Peter Hull
In a joint effort to protect area water quality, communities across the state are joining Clemson’s Carolina Clear program to tackle stormwater issues on a regional basis and minimize polluted runoff.
The program builds partnerships with communities and educators from universities, state agencies and nonprofit groups to teach homeowners, developers and municipal officials how they can keep the state’s streams, lakes and wetlands as clean as possible.
Homeowners can limit the amount of fertilizer and other chemicals they apply to lawns, install rain gardens and use rain barrels to collect runoff. Developers can minimize grading to preserve vegetation that absorbs rainwater, and use silt screens to prevent sediment from entering streams. Municipal officials can reduce runoff through land-use planning, stormwater infrastructure and permeable paving that allows rainwater to enter the soil.
“Whenever we build on our landscape, there can be corresponding effects to water quality,” said Katie Giacalone, Carolina Clear regional coordinator and natural resources agent.
There are now Carolina Clear programs in Berkeley, Charleston, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Pickens, Richland and Sumter counties. Education partners include S.C. Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, Coastal Carolina University and College of Charleston, along with local nonprofit organizations.