Steve Klaine: Impacts of Land Development

Stephen J. Klaine, Ph.D.
Professor and Interim Director
Institute of Environmental Toxicology (ENTOX)

Population is growing at a significant rate especially along the I-85 corridor in the upstate; and that development, that increased population has certain implications for how we develop land; and that land development then has implications for both the quantity of water that we see in surface streams and lakes; as well as the quality of the water that we see in those streams.

Poorly managed land leads to excess nutrients coming into the water; and those nutrients can contribute to the growth of noxious and even toxic organisms in estuarine systems.

Our work focuses on how to allow that development but do it in a more environmentally sound manner.  So that we can meet the needs of a rapidly growing population but not destroy the aquatic ecosystem immediately downstream.  The reality is that we need healthy aquatic ecosystems because without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy recreational benefits such as fishing and boating; we wouldn’t have clean water to drink; and we wouldn’t have the other aesthetics that go along with it in terms of habitats for various organisms that we like to see.  Birds, mammals, etc.

As the population continues to grow in SC, we’re going to increase the pressure on water resources; and our research will ultimately help us to continue to facilitate land development, land use in a much more environmentally sound manner protecting aquatic ecosystems.  We have to remember that humans are part of the ecosystem also.  So what we ultimately do to our resources and how we shepherd those resources comes back to effect our way of life and even our standard of living.