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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Restoring Salt Marsh

Sep 13, 2022 03:30PM ● By Owen Kowalewski

SCDNR Awarded $1.5 Million to Restore West Ashley Tidal Marsh

An aerial view of Old Towne Creek shows volunteers working at several plots of marsh grass that were planted between 2019 and 2022. A new grant will allow SCDNR biologists, partners, volunteers and community members to expand restoration efforts on this tidal creek. (Photo: Shellfish Research Section/SCDNR)

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was awarded $1.5 million to work with partners and volunteers in the Charleston area to restore seven acres of degraded salt marsh in a historically important area. 

The project will unfold over four years and use volunteers to plant salt marsh grasses and construct oyster reefs through SCDNR’s South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) Program.

 “We’re ecstatic to receive funding for this project,” said Michael Hodges, SCDNR shellfish biologist and lead on the project. “We’re excited that we will get to involve so many volunteers and partners in the project’s implementation. This will be a unique project, using novel, nature-based solutions to restore the degraded tidal marsh in this historically significant part of the Lowcountry.”

 Granted by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, the award is one of eight funded across the country and represents a continuation of federally funded work on Old Towne Creek in West Ashley.

 Phase one of the project, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), involved developing engineering and design plans for coastal marshes in West Ashley.

 A team led by Dr. Joel E. Kostka, professor and associate chair for Research in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at GT, will lead post-restoration monitoring and quantify habitat improvements as well as collaborate with SCDNR to train volunteers and citizen scientists.

 Other partners in this phase of the project will include Robinson Design Engineers and the South Carolina Aquarium.

 “This project is a win-win for the Charleston area as it will restore critical wildlife habitat while strengthening the resilience of the coastline to damage from storms and erosion made worse by climate change,” Kostka said.

 “We at Georgia Tech are excited to participate in the project, in particular to leverage science to develop metrics and improve strategies that will ensure the success of nature-based restoration activities across the U.S.”

 The restoration site is in what was formerly Maryville, a small town with an important role in Charleston’s history. Chartered and settled in 1886, Maryville was one of the area’s most prominent settlement communities – self-sustaining, all-Black communities that offered the region’s formerly enslaved population safer places to buy land, raise families, and pursue farming or trades in the Jim Crow-era South.

 Despite later annexation by the city of Charleston and rapid development of surrounding West Ashley, the area is still known to some locals – including descendants of the town’s founders – as Maryville.

 Old Towne Creek is the tidal waterway that connects this area to the nearby Ashley River. In 1670, it saw the first English settlers arrive and establish ‘Charles Towne’ on its banks.

 Later, the fishermen of Maryville plied its waters for crab, oysters and fish.

Today, the creek is popular among kayakers and birdwatchers. But like many urban waterways, Old Towne Creek and its surrounding marshes have degraded over time, particularly after a severe drought in 2012 and another salt marsh dieback event in 2016.

Researchers have found that the salt marsh within the project area has not recovered naturally like other areas with similar conditions. 

The recent $1.5 million in funding will allow for the restoration and monitoring of seven acres of degraded salt marsh through community-based restoration efforts.

Members of the community and the Ashleyville-Maryville Neighborhood Association, who initially noticed that the marsh vegetation was dying back, participated in the initial site assessment and will now be engaged as volunteers in the restoration.

SCDNR biologists have been constructing ‘living shorelines’ – shorelines made of natural materials – for two decades, primarily using recycled oyster shells.

The shells attract young oysters, which settle on the hard materials and collectively grow into reef structures that filter waterways, provide habitat for fish and buffer shorelines from erosion.

Report: Where SC Ranks Among Best-Paying States for Woodworkers

new report from Construction Coverage looks at which U.S. states offer woodworkers the highest wages.

Woodworkers manufacture products like cabinets and furniture using wood, veneers, and laminates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field is expected to grow by 8 percent by 2030, which is in line with the growth expected across all occupations.

But one ongoing challenge for woodworking is compensation: the average annual wage for a U.S. woodworker is $37,520, compared to the overall mean wage of $58,260.

Woodworkers’ compensation varies across the country, however. Researchers ranked states by the mean annual wage for woodworkers, adjusted for the cost of living.

Woodworkers in South Carolina earn a mean annual wage of $38,989 after adjusting for the cost of living, compared to $37,520 nationally.

Here is a summary of data for South Carolina:

Mean annual wage for woodworkers (adjusted): $38,989

Mean annual wage for woodworkers (unadjusted): $35,732

Mean annual wage for all production occupations: $41,540

Mean annual wage for all occupations: $47,490.

For reference, here are statistics for the entire United States:

Mean annual wage for woodworkers (adjusted): $37,520

Mean annual wage for woodworkers (unadjusted): $37,520

Mean annual wage for all production occupations: $43,070

Mean annual wage for all occupations: $58,260.

Cedar Fair Wins Three Golden Ticket Awards For 2022

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, said it has earned three honors in Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards (GTA).

Kings Island in Ohio nabbed the Publisher’s Pick for “Park of the Year” during its 50th anniversary.

In addition, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Texas, has been recognized as the “World’s Best Water Park” for an unprecedented 24th time.

And Carowinds, located off Interstate 77 at the North Carolina/South Carolina border, took home the highly coveted “Best Steel Coaster” for its giga coaster Fury 325, marking the seventh time it has won a Golden Ticket.

Presented annually, the prestigious GTA recognizes excellence in the amusement park industry.

The awards are calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, an Arlington, Texas-based publication that covers amusement and water park news and trends.

A total of 22 rides, attractions and events throughout Cedar Fair’s portfolio of amusement parks and water parks were recognized by the GTA in 2022.

Fury 325 at Carowinds has won top honors for best new ride and best steel coaster since its debut in 2015.

South Carolina Public Radio Celebrates 50 years of Programming

South Carolina ETV and Public Radio (SCETV) announced the beginning of a year-long celebration of the past 50 years of SC Public Radio in South Carolina.

The Golden Jubilee began with the planting of a commemorative tree at USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. Officials said the Amber Glow Dawn Redwood, developed and propagated in South Carolina, will honor those that helped impact SC Public Radio over the past 50 years and symbolize growth for the network in the future.

Over the next year, the network will feature programming that highlights important moments in SC Public Radio history and host several community events.

SC Public Radio was founded in 1972 as the South Carolina Educational Radio Network. Within its first decade, the network became nationally recognized for producing the Peabody Award winning music series American Popular Song with Alec Wilder and Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, the latter of which became NPR’s longest-running jazz music program.

Today, SC Public Radio reaches more than 300,000 listeners each week, helping residents across the state stay informed by providing the latest local and national news, as well as a variety of music programming.

SC Public Radio has 10 radio transmitters across the state that broadcast one of two formats, News & Talk and News & Music. SC Public Radio also offers live internet streams of each format.

SCETV has a regional studio located on the campus of USC Upstate. The partnership began when ETV Upstate first signed on the air in 1980 and continues to produce local programming and engage with the Upstate community.

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