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Clemson, Coastal Carolina universities to set hundreds of sensors in Savannah River

CLEMSON, S.C. Clemson University researchers are teaming up with Coastal Carolina University (CCU) colleagues to deploy and monitor hundreds of sensors along the Savannah River to gather data for the $4-million Intelligent River project.

The sensors will collect and transmit real-time information about the quality and quantity of water in the 312-mile river.

Intelligent River project leaders Gene Eidson, director of Clemson's Institute of Applied Ecology, and Jason Hallstrom, associate director, said they have an agreement with Paul Gayes, director of the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina in Conway. The center will provide watercraft and technical staff to deploy the equipment, replace field equipment as necessary and assist in routine maintenance.

"CCU's Center for Marine and Wetland Studies has extensive experience in deploying and operating a wide range of scientific instrumentation in diverse environments," said Eidson. "We are excited to have the center as a partner."

The Coastal Carolina team has expertise in making scientific measurements in challenging locations, ranging from studies collecting sediment cores from an icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean to chemically tracing fluids seeping from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico on a research submarine.

The majority of its focus has been specializing in shallow-water applications along the South Carolina coast: the ocean, estuaries and rivers. The scientists have maintained an array of ocean meteorological-sensing systems at regional piers and instrument buoy systems off the coast and mapped extensive areas of the S.C. continental shelf.

The Intelligent River environmental data-collection system or "macroscope" will include a network of remote sensors to collect, store and send data on river conditions ranging from water quality and flow to stormwater runoff and pollution discharges. Wireless transmitters will send data on temperature, water clarity, dissolved oxygen and other environmental indicators to Clemson, where the information will be processed and posted on the Internet. Anyone anywhere in the world can monitor the well-being of the river.

Clemson and Coastal Carolina have partnered on offshore renewable-energy initiatives for several years, combining the strengths of Clemson's Restoration Institute, engineering and energy programs and Coastal's marine science and ocean atmospheric observation and modeling capabilities.

"Joining Clemson's Intelligent River team will be a great extension of the existing offshore cooperative efforts bringing technical resources and capabilities together that are needed to better understand and manage our environmental resources as integrated systems," said Gayes.

Coastal Carolina University is developing a doctoral program in marine science and collaborating with Clemson on expanding access of faculty and students to specialized capabilities and programs at both institutions.

Contact: Jason Hallstrom
Clemson University

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