Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Marzieh Motallebi

Committee Member

Michael Vassalos

Committee Member

Mustapha Alhassan

Committee Member

Amy E. Scaroni

Abstract

Rapid urbanization changes the natural hydrology of a landscape, making stormwater management a crucial aspect of land development. As the fastest growing ecosystem globally, an innovative way of managing stormwater is needed to address the increase in urban run-off. In coastal South Carolina, stormwater practices have been widely adopted at the neighborhood level, yet threat of flooding is becoming more evident as the urban population and development continue to rise.

To determine the importance of stormwater practices to coastal residents, we assessed perception on stormwater practices and programs at different decision levels— 1) household, 2) neighborhood, and 3) city/county. Results showed that the intention to adopt stormwater practices at the residential level is affected by demographic characteristics, awareness and perception on flooding and stormwater practices, and adoption barriers. At the neighborhood level, we found that while the installation of stormwater ponds was initially motivated by compliance to regulations, they have become an amenity in subdivisions in coastal SC and important feature of urban landscapes. The coastal residents were also willing to pay a premium on top of their current stormwater fee to improve the environmental benefits of the nearest ponds— flooding reduction, water quality improvement, wildlife habitat, recreation, and scenic beauty. Moreover, single-family homes adjacent to a pond or at a distance not less than 500-ft tend to be more expensive by 3% to 5% compared to those located farther away. At the county level, our findings showed that revenues from collection of stormwater utility fees are significant fund source for implementation of stormwater programs. Moreover, cities/ counties in coastal SC collect different rates of stormwater fees, and their revenue allocation also varies. While the stormwater utility fee revenue seems to be sufficient to meet the urgent program needs for some jurisdictions from 2019-2021, increasing capital investments might threaten the SUF revenue adequacy in the next five to 20 years.

The results of this study are useful for stormwater professionals, particularly in determining the stormwater practices that might be desirable for the local communities.

Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-7427-4667

Available for download on Saturday, April 22, 2023

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