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The built environment of peninsular Charleston, South Carolina, has been strongly influenced by the ethos of architectural preservation. However, increased frequency of storm and tide-related flooding has been affecting property and public services, and threatens human and environmental health. Management processes for excess water in this urban area must adapt to the challenges resulting from historic development including the fill of tidal creek systems, sea-level rise, and the influence of large storm events on drainage infrastructure. The City of Charleston has adopted several strategies to manage flooding and encourage progressive development. Large-scale drainage improvement projects capitalize on a geologic framework that provides for deep tunnel excavation and drainage system construction. Novel approaches in zoning codes provide some incentives for land owners to use lower impact design techniques in return for more flexible design standards. This field tour will guide participants through this historic city, and will provide a glimpse of the geologic setting, development history, and environmental pressures that have compelled the city’s proactive stormwater management.

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