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

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

Now, what started as a citizen science initiative led by George has turned into a $2.6 million National Fish and Wildlife Association effort to restore degraded salt marshes in Charleston, South Carolina. As part of the project, Joel Kostka, professor and associate chair of Research in the School of Biological Sciences, will lead a team of researchers to not only monitor these restoration efforts, but gain insights into why the marshes degraded in the first place — and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Over the past three years, Kostka, who has a joint appointment in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has worked with SCDNR and Robinson Design Engineers, a local firm co-led by Tech alum Joshua Robinson (CEE 2005), to develop engineering and design plans for the restoration of the salt marshes.

“That project went really well,” shared Kostka, “and now we have developed engineering and design plans for the actual restoration as we are moving forward with the next phase.”

Work for the current phase of the project is set to begin soon. Over the next four years, community volunteers will work to plant marsh grasses, restore oyster reefs, and excavate the tidal creeks that supply the marsh with sea water. 

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

Read more about the collaborative effort and the community that started it all in the College of Sciences newsroom.

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  • An aerial view of the restoration site in historic Maryville.

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Audra Davidson, College of Sciences

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College of Sciences at Georgia Tech