Env Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation In the spring of 2017, the Town of Kiawah Island's Environmental Committee formed a subcommittee to proactively identify steps the community could take to address increased flooding frequency and adapt to future sea level changes. On September 4, the Town of Kiawah released the Kiawah Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation report. This report attempts to identify ways in which Kiawah might be impacted by rising seas and changing weather patterns, to assess potential vulnerabilities to those changes, and to suggest practical actions that Kiawah might take to mitigate those vulnerabilities and ensure a prosperous future. This report does not attempt to sugar-coat the challenges being faced by all southeastern coastal communities. The good news is that there are many practical and useful actions Kiawah property owners and governing bodies can take to preserve our fully functioning and beautiful island. The entire report and the summary website can be on www.kiawahisland.org/floodandsealevelrise. The website aims to help navigate the public through the highlights of the report’s findings while also providing access to the entire report and additional data and resources. The Town would like to thank the following individuals that served on the Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise subcommittee: • Robert Cheney – MS in Physical Oceanography • Jim Chitwood – Ph.D. in Chemistry (University of California – Berkeley) and Advanced Management Program (Harvard) • William Connor – Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Clemson University • Jane Ellis – Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Clemson University • Jim Jordan – BS in Biology, Furman University; MS in Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Georgia • Jack Kotz – Ph.D. in chemistry, Cornell University • John Leffler – Ph.D. in Zoology/Ecology, University of Georgia • Diana Mezzanotte (Town Council Member) Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting, St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN. CPA Emeritus, South Carolina. • David Pumphrey – B.A. in Economics, Duke University; M.A. in Economics from George Mason University • Lynette Schroeder – MBA, University of Virginia, A.B. University of Chicago • James V. Sullivan – B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University • Ex-Officio: Matt Hill -KICA and Sara Senst- ARB 10 The Town launched its new Grow Native initiative on October 15 as part of Kiawah’s first official Native Plant Week. Throughout the week, the Town and Kiawah Conservancy hosted a series of pro- grams to educate homeowners on the benefits of using native plants in landscaping projects. The Town also provided more than 200 free native plants to program attendees. Kiawah’s Grow Native initiative is a community-wide effort to in- crease the use of native plants in landscaping projects across the island with an overall goal of improving wildlife habitat. The initiative was created by the Landscape Working Group (LWG), a subcommit- tee of the Town’s Environmental committee, with support from the Kiawah Conservancy. The LWG Passionflower is chaired by Denise Graybill-Dono- | Pamela Cohen hoe, (MLD, LEED AP) and includes landscaping staff from each of Kiawah’s five main entities. Using native plants in landscaping has a direct impact on the eco- system. Benefits of using natives include: • protection of water resources, allowing gardeners to reduce fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation practices which otherwise can contribute to stormwater runoff pollution • sustain pollinators vital for fruit production and provide high- quality food and shelter for 10 to 15 times as many species of wildlife as non-native plants. • provide essential watershed protection, helping natural aquifers recharge, serving to filter water naturally flowing into rivers and estuaries, lessening erosion and flooding. • resistance to saltwater intrusion from flooding and storm sur ge. Online Native Plant Coming Soon Database The next phase of the initiative will be the release of an official native plant database for Kiawah Island. The database will be an online, searchable list of native trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ferns, and grasses and will provide detailed information on 23 different plant characteristics, including growing conditions, size, flowering informa- tion, salt tolerance, deer resistance, and wildlife value. The data- base will serve as a resource for residents, landscapers, landscape architects, landscape designers, and other entities. The first release will contain 200 plants, and the plant list will be expanded over time to include up to 500 plants. Town Biologist Jim Jordan stated “maintaining and restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving the island’s current and future eco- system. 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.” Property owners can help move this initiative forward by incorporating native plants into any future landscaping projects. Visit www.grownativekiawah.com to learn more.