2022 Research Symposium

Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are hosting the park’s third research symposium on Thursday, January 6, 2022 and Friday January 7, 2022. The symposium will focus on recurring themes in park research and feature a memorial session for Will Graf and Rebecca Sharitz. Participants may attend in-person or via Zoom.

Thursday, January 6, 2022 (UofSC Alumni Center Ballroom)

6:00-7:00 PM – Reception

7:00-7:45 PM – Welcome and Research Reflection
Opening remarks and a review of Congaree National Park research
   Acting Superintendent Gregory Cunningham (Congaree National Park), David Shelley (Congaree National Park)

7:45-8:30 PM  – Tribute to Will Graf and Rebecca Sharitz
Kimberly Meitzen
(Texas State Univ, Dept of Geography and Environmental Studies), Laura Stroup (St. Michaels Univ, Dept of Geography), Loretta Battaglia (Southern Illinois Univ, Dept of Plant Biology)

Friday, January 7, 2021 (SC State Museum Vista Room)

9:00-10:15 AM: Session 1—Cultural History (Chair: Neal Polhemus)
Robert Greene
(Claflin Univ,  Dept of History): The Black history of Congaree Swamp: From the colonial era to Jim Crow
   Mark Kinzer (National Park Service): Old-Growth and old fields: Historic human land use in the Congaree floodplain
   Neal Polhemus (Univ of South Carolina, College of Arts and Sciences: Life and death on the edge of the swamp: Black farmers, White hunters, and the closure of the Congaree commons

10:30-11:45 AM: Session 2—Hydrology (Chair: John Kupfer)
   Greg Carbone (Univ of South Carolina, Dept of Geography): Historical climatology and future projections in central South Carolina
   Ray Torres (Univ of South Carolina, School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment): Wetting and drainage of the Congaree River floodplain
   Celeste Journey (USGS, South Atlantic Water Science Center): Water quality in Congaree National Park: New technologies to track contamination

1:00-2:15 PM: Session 3—Geomorphology (Chair: Kimberly Meitzen)
   Ellen Wohl (Colorado State Univ, Dept of Geosciences): Geomorphic influences on river corridor resilience to disturbance
   Allan James (Univ of SC, Dept of Geography): Legacy sediment in the New World: Theoretical and practical concerns
   Enrica Viparelli (Univ of SC, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering): Measuring sediment fluxes between the Congaree River channel and its floodplain

2:30-3:45 PM: Session 4—Ecosystems/Ecology (Chair: Loretta Battaglia)
Graeme Lockaby
(Auburn Univ, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences): Biogeochemistry of floodplain forests
   Will Conner (Clemson Univ,  Forestry and Environmental Conservation Dept): Forested wetlands dynamics across an elevation gradient within a floodplain forest of the Congaree River
   Loretta Battaglia (Southern Illinois Univ, Dept of Plant Biology): Floodplain forest change along a post-Hurricane Hugo disturbance gradient

4:00-5:00 PM: Session 5—Panel Discussion (Moderator: David Shelley)
Speakers discuss upcoming challenges and the future of research at Congaree National Park.
   Theresa Thom (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Cliff McCreedy (National Park Service, US Biosphere Network), Tim Watkins (National Park Service, Climate Change Response)\


Water/Ways Virtual Symposium Video Sessions

Opening Session-A Black History of Congaree: From Slavery to the Post-Civil Rights Era by Prof. Robert Greene


Welcome and Introductions and Session 1- Home is where the water is: Water, Culture and history in the COWASEE Basin

K Lyn Berry (Congaree National Park)
TJ Wallace (SC Humanities)
Janae Davis (American Rivers)
Jon Manchester (National Park Service)
Marie Adams (Southeast Rural Community Outreach)
Mark Kinzer (National Park Service)
Moderated by John Cely and John Grego (Friends of Congaree Swamp)


Creative Exercise-Communal Pen Workshop experience with Eboni Ramm


Session 2-Water: Critical resource, societal asset

Quinton Epps (Richland County Conservation Department)
Michael Dantzler (Get Involved Lower Richland)
Jeff Duncan (National Park Service Wild & Scenic Rivers)
Bill Stangler (Congaree Riverkeeper)
Moderated by Greg Cunningham (National Park Service)


Session 3-It’s our water: Managing water at the local level

Synithia Williams (Richland County Stormwater Division)
Alex Butler (SC Department of Health and Environmental Control)
Guillermo Espinosa (Central Midlands Council of Governments)
Gerrit Jobsis (American Rivers)
Moderated by John Kupfer (University of South Carolina)

Session 4-What’s next? Spurred to action!

Robert Reese (Lower Richland)
Matt Johnson (Audubon, SC)
Stuart White (Congaree Land Trust)
Dr. David Shelley (Congaree Biosphere Region, NPS)
Carmony Adler (Gills Creek Watershed Association)

Water/Ways Virtual Symposium

Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are hosting the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit through January 13, 2021 under the sponsorship of SC Humanities. The park and Friends of Congaree Swamp will host a virtual symposium Thursday, January 7, 2021 and Friday January 8, 2021 inspired by the exhibition’s themes.

Symposium Poster (pdf)


Symposium Sponsors

Recreation Fee Program

Congaree National Park is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the park’s Recreation Fee Program.

Learn more HERE

National Public Lands Day

To celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 28, Friends of Congaree Swamp will host a trail-clearing.  This will be our second year participating in National Public Lands Day, an event hosted by NEEF (National Environmental Educational Foundation) that is the largest volunteer service event held to support public lands.  We will meet at the Visitor Center at 9 AM then select service activities (trail-clearing and perhaps others), depending on turn-out.

The park service will provide vests and additional tools, but if you have loppers, handsaws, or long-handled shears, please bring them along.  We should be out no later than the early afternoon.  In addition to trail-clearing tools, bring plenty of water, gloves, a snack and insect repellent.  If interested, contact John Greg at friendsofcongareeswamp@gmail.com or (803) 331-3366.