South Carolina’s Coastal Habitats and Regional Comparison
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South Carolina’s Coastal Habitats and Regional Comparison

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  • Description:
    South Carolina’s coastal habitats have a profound impact on the people and wildlife that live in and around them. In an ever-​changing world, it is important to monitor the dynamics of natural resource systems. By understanding what these habitats are, their relative abundance, and the efforts put in place to protect them, these incredibly valuable coastal wetland systems can be enjoyed for generations to come. In order to better understand South Carolina’s coastal wetlands, it is very important to assess their availability and characteristics​. In this study, South Carolina’s coastal wetlands are defined as National Wetland Inventory (NWI) wetlands within the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Critical Area. The NWI database is a publicly available resource that provides detailed information on the abundance, characteristics​, and distribution of wetlands in the United States.2 The Critical Area is defined as coastal waters, tidelands, beaches, and beach/dune systems.3 Within the defined coastal wetlands, seven habitat types were identified, mapped, and measured in size. With a more in-depth knowledge of the habitats found in South Carolina’s coastal wetlands, coastal wetlands were separated into three regions: the Grand Strand Area, the Greater Charleston Area, and the Greater Hilton Head Area, where more focus could be applied to habitat composition, rates of change, and conservation in the respective regions.
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