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Clemson researchers secure $100,000 grant to monitor creek

Staff Report
Published Nov. 26, 2012

Clemson University researchers received a more than $100,000 grant to monitor and restore part of a historic creek that flows through and around campus.

Hunnicutt Creek will serve as a living laboratory for faculty and students focusing on ecosystem assessment and restoration.

The one-time Clemson University Experiment Station grant must be spent by June 2013. It is the initial step of a long-term program on local wetland enhancement and stream restoration.

Cal Sawyer, the Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence associate director, leads the project. The project team will deploy sensors to collect data to analyze streambed and bank conditions, measure water flow, and evaluate restoration and mitigation efforts.

The Hunnicutt Creek drains through campus, collecting runoff from building rooftops, parking lots and other impervious surfaces. The water eventually flows into the old Seneca River channel before being pumped into Lake Hartwell.

Sawyer, also an assistant professor in the School of Agriculture, Forest and Environmental Science, said the project will provide research data for restoring and enhancing part of lower Hunnicutt Creek and the floodplain land that includes the Calhoun Field Laboratory.

Hunnicutt Creek will become an “intelligent creek,” as part of Clemson’s Intelligent River project. The project uses Clemson-designed on-site sensors to collect, temporarily store and transmit data to computers that check, correlate and display environmental conditions in real time, according to a news release.

The Intelligent River technology is designed to monitor and assess water quality along the 312-mile length of the Savannah River.