Water Quality and Quantity

Research programs in the water quality and quantity focus area will develop strategies for economically viable land use to coexist with good water quality and the process of identifying wetland and watershed management practices to improve water quality, wetland and aquatic wildlife habitat.  Programs will investigate the environmental impact of development in the state’s coastal region, particularly forested wetland ecology, water quality and forest genetics. Remote sensors will be installed to make it possible to constantly monitor water quality in South Carolina’s rivers. Researchers will work to understand processes that control contaminant movement, contaminant bio-availability and toxicity, as well as contaminant degradation and assimilation by natural biogeochemical processes. Critical research on toxicity of metals and pesticides will assist environmental regulators to develop site specific water quality criterion for metals in South Carolina’s surface waters.

Research will design, improve and evaluate watershed models and other approaches for total maximum daily load (TMDL) development and implementation. Research will also assess the potential economic benefits and costs associated with implementation of these standards at the watershed and individual landowner scale. A part of this effort will involve assessing the potential ecological benefits.