CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is working with several partners to come up with solutions for flooding, by using nature itself.
Wednesday kicked off the Nature-Based Exchange workshop series. Charleston City leaders met with the Nature Conservancy, Biohabitats, and other groups at the Clemson Design Center.
Organizers said the goal is to understand the value of nature in helping solve issues around the Lowcountry. With this approach, the group hopes to protect salt marshes and mitigate flooding.
“When we think about infrastructure, we tend to think of gray infrastructure. Roads and concrete and pipes and steel,” said Dale Morris, the city’s Chief Resilience Officer. “Mother nature has a bunch of infrastructure too. Mother nature provides a lot of benefits to us, and we need to find ways to bring that approach into our engineered systems.”
Some nature-based projects are already in the works. In West Ashley, there are plans to restore the Church Creek Basin. The experts have also been implementing living shorelines throughout the state. They said it is a natural alternative to seawalls that uses natural materials like vegetation or oyster reefs.
“We are now working on the largest living shoreline, it’s an acre in size, which will be up in Georgetown,” said Elizabeth Fly with the Nature Conservancy.
According to Keith Bowers, the founder of Biohabitats, the partners are working on a conservation plan for Johns Island.
“Our whole idea here is that we can go back to nature and learn from nature,” said Bowers.
The next workshop will happen in July.