SC7 launches film highlighting smart reef installation off South Carolina

July 31, 2023

Expedition leader Tom Mullikin says offshore reef system to be linked from N.C. to GA

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

THE SOUTH CAROLINA SEVEN (SC7) Expedition launched the first of at least two documentary films that will chronicle the month-long SC7 Expedition from the mountains to the sea last week. The first – a two-minute segment highlighting the offshore installation of a smart reef system capable of collecting data in real time – was filmed by N.C.-based PICK UP THE SIX PRODUCTIONS and released Saturday, July 29. A second lengthier documentary film being produced by Quito, Ecuador-based El Viaje Films will chronicle the entire SC7 Expedition which began July 1 at the famed Chattooga River in the S.C. Upstate and concluded Sunday, July 30, on the Spanish Moss Trail in northern Beaufort County.

A joint venture between Global Eco Adventures (GEA) and the S.C. National Heritage Corridor (National Park Service), the 4th annual SC7 Expedition paralleled much of the state’s Palmetto Trail showcasing S.C.’s seven natural wonders and creating a greater awareness of S.C.’s sterling natural resources and how to protect them. In addition to offshore smart-reef installation work; litter sweeps, river cleanups, other environmental cleanups, and trail repairs took place along the way.

The seven designated wonders of South Carolina include Sassafras Mountain; the Jocassee Gorges; the Chattooga River; the Congaree National Forest; the Edisto River; the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Basin (universally referred to as the ACE Basin); and Bull Island-Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge: “Each one a unique geographical treasure,” according to SC7 leader Dr. Tom Mullikin, founder of GEA and chair of the gubernatorially established S.C. Floodwater Commission.

The information gathered by the smart reef system will be fed into Coastal Carolina University’s interactively coupled ocean-atmosphere-wave-hydrologic modeling system which will improve the advanced modeling applications to help inform discussions about hurricanes and other tropical storm impacts (e.g. flooding and storm surge). The smart reef data also supports research related to waves and currents as well as a wide range of other natural resource management concerns.

Scores of divers, led by Mullikin and a group of former U.S. military special operators, installed the reef block components including interconnecting cables off Beaufort, a complementary effort to last year’s smart reef installation work off the coast of Charleston.

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