The Charleston area is home to an extensive network of rivers and large tourism and eco-tourism economies. With a burgeoning alternative-energy sector, several operational wood pellet and electricity-generating biomass sites, and a growing residential solar economy, Charleston is at the cutting edge of sustainability and renewable energy in the South.
With dwindling wetlands, explosive residential and commercial development expansion, and increasing politicization of preservation efforts, the Lowcountry is the ideal environment in which to explore the challenges and solutions for how growing urban areas in the United States safeguard threatened ecosystems.
With an average elevation of just 20 feet above sea level, the city of Charleston is inextricably connected with climate change. It is among the U.S. cities most threatened by rising tides, temperature shifts, and severe weather - an unsettling distinction which has helped fuel the development of aggressive conservation and sustainability efforts.
As part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer network, the City participates in USGS efforts to understand the flow and replenishment cycles of groundwater in the region. Charleston County grapples with the challenges of conserving and responsibly consuming water as the population grows rapidly.