By The Town Of Kiawah Island for The Island Connection
In Fall 2019, the Town of Kiawah Island amended its Comprehensive Plan to prioritize flood mitigation and sea-level rise risks. One of those risks identified was focusing on the other significant natural resource for Kiawah, the salt marsh. Through several community engagement initiatives, credit to the Town’s Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Sub-committee and the Planning Commission on their efforts toward resiliency planning for Kiawah, the Comprehensive Plan was amended by Town Council to establish a new natural resources goal of formalizing a marsh management plan that explores various methods of protection for the island’s marsh.
Biohabits and Elko Coastal Consulting collectively have been brought on to assist the town with the Marsh Management Plan. Dr. Nicole Elko is President of Elko Coastal Consulting based in Folly Beach, SC; Science Director for the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association; an Executive Director of the U.S. Coastal Research Program, and Executive Director of the South Carolina Beach Advocates. She is presently serving as one of the three civilian members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Engineering Research Board and as a member of NOAA’s Hydrographic Services Review Panel. Both the CERB and HSRP are Federal Advisory Committees that advise agency leadership on national coastal research and development needs. She served on Governor Henry McMaster’s South Carolina Floodwater Commission in 2019. Elko received her Ph.D. in geology from the University of South Florida after working with the USGS Coastal Marine Geology Program, St. Petersburg, and while serving as the coastal coordinator for Pinellas County, Florida. She has nearly 25 years of experience in coastal science and management and has assisted with many projects along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf coasts.
The Town is asking for the community’s input in regard to Kiawah’s marshes. Visit bit.ly/3opigVl to respond to the survey and the interactive mapping tool to help inform the planning process.