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SOLD OUT: Charleston Takes on Sea Level Rise: Strategies, Projects, Funding & Progress

November 14, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Monday, November 14, 2016

6:00pm -8:00pm

Free to the public. To RSVP, please call (843) 723-9912 or email mstokenberry@charlestonlibrarysociety.org

It is widely understood that the sea level is rising at an accelerating rate, posing a serious threat to the Charleston area.  If we do forget, events like Hurricane Matthew and regular tidal flooding in the streets remind us. The above image, from NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer, models what the flooding impacts on the Charleston peninsula will be with three feet of sea level rise. City planning currently projects a 1.5 to 2.5 foot rise within the next 50 years.  The question before us is not whether sea level rise is occurring but what actions are being taken to prepare for and combat its effects.

 This event, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area partnering with S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, will explore:

•     What has been, is being, and will be done?

•     How will the necessary actions be funded?

•     Will these efforts be enough?

•     How can the public help?

The presenters are three professionals all of whom are close to the action in Charleston and are instrumental members of the Charleston Resilience Network.

The presenters will be

•    Elizabeth Fly, Ph.D., Coastal Climate Extension Specialist, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium;

•    Laura Cabiness, P.E.I., Director, Public Service Department, City of Charleston; and

•    Carolee Williams, AICP, of the City of Charleston, Project Manager, Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability, City of Charleston.

Elizabeth Fly, Ph.D., is a coastal climate extension specialist with S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments program. She provides outreach and assistance to communities dealing with weather and climate hazards and adaptation, and she works with Charleston Resilience Coalition (CRN). Resilience is the ability of a community to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from disasters. The CRN, created in 2014, includes public and private sector organizations such as the City of Charleston, DHEC-OCRM, Charleston County, BCD COG, Charleston Water System, SC Sea Grant Consortium, SCANA, and the College of Charleston.  Liz will also help administer the recent half-million dollar NOAA grant to SC Sea Grant Consortium on behalf of the CRN; the funds will be used specifically to develop strong, localized flooding models, which are essential to pin-pointing needed infrastructure improvements.

Laura Cabiness, P.E., is the City of Charleston’s director of public service. In addition to waste collection, streets and sidewalks maintenance, and building inspections, Public Service is in charge of storm drainage and flood control.  This includes the implementation of multi-million dollar drainage projects that have been gradually being completed over the past three decades. In addition, Laura is a key member involved in the development of the City’s Sea Level Rise Strategy, an overall plan adopted by the City Council last year.

Carolee Williams, AICP, is the City’s project manager for planning, preservation, and sustainability.  A member of the team that developed the City’s Sea Level Rise Strategy, Carolee works collaboratively with Charleston’s Emergency Management, Public Service, and GIS directors on its implementation. She also coordinated the City’s application for the 100 Resilient Cities competition and is a representative on the National Academies of Sciences Resilient America Roundtable, for which the City of Charleston is a pilot city.  She will lead her department in reviewing new City plans and potential amendments to the City’s zoning ordinances in the light of changes needed given the Sea Level Rise Strategy.

The program will be facilitated by Susan Lovelace, a trained moderator.

Susan Lovelace, Ph.D., is currently the assistant director for development and extension at the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, a state agency which serves to bring people together to identify, discuss, generate, study, and share information about our coastal and ocean environment and its economic, environmental, and social importance to the state.  The Consortium’s work includes community resilience and adaptation to changing climate, flooding and storms, green infrastructure and natural resource planning and protection, nature-based tourism, wise use and conservation of living marine resources and coastal water resources. Susan is leading research to better understand how people learn about their environment, engage with resource managers and shape public policy to protect their environment and well-being.  Susan also teaches environmental sciences and guides students in their Masters of Environmental Studies research at the College of Charleston.

For more information and resource material, please visit the LWVCA webpage

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that encourages informal and active participation in government. Membership is open to men and women of all ages.


November 14, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm