New director to lead Clemson Center for Watershed Excellence
CLEMSON — A new director has been named for the Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence. The center works with South Carolina communities and the public to develop science-based, cost-effective solutions to watershed issues and to provide watershed planning and support.
Katie Buckley Giacalone takes over managing the center after serving as statewide coordinator for Carolina Clear. Giacalone will continue to direct Carolina Clear, which is the watershed-center program for stormwater education and awareness.
“I am looking forward to helping address the challenges involved with making sure our state has the water it needs to serve citizens, the environment and the economy,” Giacalone said. “This is work that affects us all and involves us all, whether we use water to raise crops and cattle or to meet community needs, such as safe drinking water, shellfish harvesting and recreational activities. Clean and plentiful water is critical to South Carolina’s quality of life.”
The Center for Watershed Excellence was established in 2008 to develop site-based solutions that foster economic and environmental sustainability, and to provide watershed planning and management support for South Carolina municipalities and counties.
The center also provides faculty expertise in the areas of environmental and ecological sciences, engineering, community planning, marketing, behavioral sciences, economics and computer sciences. The center is part of Clemson University’s Institute of Computational Ecology and is an EPA-designated Center of Excellence in Watershed Management.
“This is a significant transition for the center,” said Gene Eidson, director of the computational ecology institute and founder of the Center for Watershed Excellence. “Katie’s experience and commitment to the state’s water needs for environmental sustainability and economic development is an ideal combination.”
Giacalone has been involved in Clemson Public Service Activities natural resource programs since 2008, at Carolina Clear and as an Extension Service associate. She holds an undergraduate degree in marine science and a master’s in environmental science, and has specialized in monitoring and mitigating the effects of water pollution and working with communities to address regulatory mandates.
While Eidson steps aside from the watershed center, he will continue as director of the Institute of Computational Ecology. The move allows more time for him to concentrate on building the institute’s Intelligent River Research Enterprise, which has developed patent-pending technology that powers remote sensor networks and delivers computer-enhanced real-time information for scientists, policy-makers, water managers, farmers and foresters.
Carolina Clear works to minimize polluted stormwater runoff by educating adults, youth, builders, developers, homeowners and government officials about how they can prevent water pollution in the state’s streams, rivers and lakes. Program researchers and planners work with communities to meet state and federal requirements to minimize pollution caused by stormwater runoff.
The Institute of Computational Ecology
The Institute of Computational Ecology (ICE) is applications-driven, bringing together an entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary faculty with an applied focus to develop, pilot and package innovative solutions for watershed ecology, green infrastructure, cyberinfrastructure, ecological restoration and sustainable natural resources. Major programs of the Institute of Computational Ecology include the Intelligent River Research Enterprise and the Center for Watershed Excellence.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Intelligent River research team is developing and deploying sensors along the 312-mile length of the Savannah River to collect and display water quality and quantity data on a website. Currently under construction, the Intelligent River Viewing Room at the institute offices will provide real-time virtual tours of the river. Other Intelligent River Research Enterprise project models being tested are the Intelligent Farm at Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center (Blackville), the Intelligent Forest at the Baruch Institute (Georgetown) and the Intelligent City in Aiken.