Similar to many environmental issues today, stormwater management lies within a network of regulatory and policy oversight. As South Carolina coastal communities continue to experience economic and population growth, understanding the broader policy context of stormwater pond management is important. This study was aimed at compiling the state-of-the-knowledge of stormwater pond management policy for the eight coastal counties of South Carolina. In order to enhance researchers and policymakers understanding of the stormwater policy and regulatory environment, this research utilizes a mixed methods approach. A mixed methods approach allows researchers to explore different components of a particular research question by deploying more than one methodological tool.

This research employed three primary qualitative techniques: a policy instrument scan, a regional online survey and a local policy and economic focus group. Results indicate that while potentially strong policy exists at all levels (federal, state and local), there are identified gaps and stakeholder concerns around policy implementation and proper stormwater pond management at the local level. Additionally, with many stormwater ponds managed by Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) there appears to be wide variation in their management and maintenance. Some of the recommendations identified in these results include: encouraging more Low Impact Development (LID) practices both for new development and re-development, improved communication on and best practices in pond maintenance, research and development of alternative pond management methods, more effective communication from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) related to design criteria, effective maintenance and training opportunities for engineers preparing stormwater plans, and improved education for developers and HOAs. This document provides a framework to help lay the foundation for future stormwater pond policy studies that can assist policy makers, managers, stakeholders and other decision makers to more fully understand issues impacting water resource management in South Carolina.



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