2019 Quarter 1 Town Notes 2019 Quarter 1 Town Notes Singlepageformat - Page 7

The Town of Kiawah Island is excited to announce a formal partner- ship beginning in January 2019 through June 2019 with the College of Charleston to support the research of Lucas Hernandez. Lucas is a Master of Environmental Studies/Master of Public Administra- tion Candidate at the College of Charleston conducting research on flooding around Kiawah Island. He has worked closely with the Charleston Resilience Network and several other municipalities in the Lowcountry researching flooding and assisting in disaster communication and preparation. During his time at the college, he has worked in the Lowcountry Hazards Center with his advisor, Dr. Norman Levine, creating flood maps and assessing impacts of sea level rise on the greater Charleston area. Using a variety of available data, this team can simulate and predict which roadways and homes will be impacted by flooding in the future, using models within a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. GIS tools can easily overlay many layers of information (high-resolution elevations, land use, and flood extent) to create maps and images of the impacts of future flooding events. Lucas’ primary focus during the first half of 2019, will be to take highly accurate elevation data and project “simulated” storm surges across Kiawah Island in increments ranging from 0-24 feet in height. Similarly, sea level rise maps will be developed showing what Kiawah Island might look like in 2025, 2030, 2050, 2075, and 2100, based on the most up-to-date NOAA Sea Level Change Pre- dictions for South Carolina. Ultimately, Lucas’ research will create a user-friendly online service for Kiawah entities and property owners to access the sea level rise and storm surge flood maps for the Island. The final part of this project will be to analyze the flooding data in conjunction with the concerns of residents, Town Council, and other island entities to develop strategies and ideas that will help Kiawah better prepare for future storms and mitigate the flood- ing that comes with them. Plant Database Kiawah’s Grow Native initiative is a community-wide effort to increase the use of native plants in landscaping proj- ects across the island with an overall goal of improving wildlife habitats. To help in this effort, the Town is proud to announce its new online plant database. Flood Mitigation Adaptation Partnership The database can be found at www.grownativekiawah.com and is a searchable list of native trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ferns, and grasses. The initial release contains 200 plants, but will be expanded over time to include up to 500 plants. Users can search the database by name or create custom plant lists based on 23 different plant characteristics. Plant characteristics, include: growing conditions, size, flowering information, salt tolerance, deer resistance, and wildlife value. For example, if you are looking for a salt tolerant, deer resistant shrub that grows in part shade, simply check the appropriate boxes to generate a list of suitable native plants. The database will serve as a resource for residents, landscapers, landscape architects, landscape designers, and other entities on Ki- awah Island. Town Biologist Jim Jordan stated “maintaining and restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving the island’s current and future ecosystem. We hope this new initiative and database will serve multiple generations of property owners and businesses and help Kiawah continue to be a model for other communities to follow.” Flood Mitigation & Sea Level Rise Response In November, Town Council began their initial response to the Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report by adopting the following actions: > Prepare for review and approval by the Planning Commission by the end of first quarter of 2019, amendments to the Environmental, Land Use and Priority Investments elements of the Comprehensive Plan that address the “needs as- sessment” and “goals” implications of the Report on sea level rise. Adopt for planning purposes, the Report’s recommendation that a range of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of sea level rise over a 30- to 50-year time horizon be considered most likely based upon current scientific research with the further direction that this assumption be reconsidered by Town Council at least every five years. > > Recommend to Town Council by the end of the second quarter of 2019, a two-year action plan to address the goals adopted by the Planning Commission in the Comprehensive Plan. > Encourage other Community entities to adopt consistent policies and actions. To view the Sea Level Rise report and summary website visit www.kiawahisland.org/floodandsealevelrise 7