Community Collaborations

Researchers and Alumni Aid in $2.6 Million Effort to Restore Salt Marshes in Historic Charleston

 

An aerial view of the marsh restoration site in historic Maryville, in Charleston, South Carolina. Volunteers can be seen planting grasses in the marsh. (Photo: Shellfish Research Section, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)

Dec 06, 2022 — Atlanta, GA

For marine scientist, climate activist, and Tech alumnus Albert George (MS HSTS 2009), the fight against climate change is also a fight for home. 

“Because if we don't do this work … then basically it means a place that I grew up in and a place that I call home will no longer exist.”

Home for George means the coastal plains and salt marshes of Georgia and South Carolina. Despite their critical role in protecting eroding coastlines, sustaining wildlife, and supporting local fishing economies, salt marshes are degrading rapidly — up to 50% of their historical land coverage has been lost over the last century.

Using citizen science and accessible education initiatives, George — in his former role as the inaugural Director of Conservation at the South Carolina Aquarium — aimed to empower communities like his in Charleston, South Carolina to do something about it. 

Those efforts recently culminated in a $2.6 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation effort to restore degraded salt marshes in Charleston.

“Because if we don't do this work … then basically it means a place that I grew up in and a place that I call home will no longer exist.” —Albert George

Led by Michael Hodges, a shellfish biologist in the South Carolina Department of Resources (SCDNR), the project will continue to build on previous work with the original project partners — including the South Carolina Aquarium, Georgia Tech researchers, and Robinson Design Engineers — and community volunteers through the South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement Program to study and restore seven acres of salt marsh in West Ashley, a historically important town of west Charleston formerly known as Maryville.

"We’re ecstatic to receive funding for this project," Hodges shared in a recent press release about the project. "We’re excited that we will get