2024 Congaree Research Symposium

Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are hosting the park’s fourth research symposium on Thursday, February 1, 2024 and Friday, February 2, 2024—World Wetlands Day. The symposium will focus on the Congaree Biosphere Region, first established in 1983 and recertified in 2016. This event will take place at the University of South Carolina Pastides Alumni Center Ballroom. In-person attendance is anticipated.


6:00-7:00 PM – Reception

7:00-7:30 PM – Welcome and Biosphere Introduction
Opening remarks and overview of US Biosphere Reserve Network
Jonathan Manchester (Congaree National Park), Cliff McCreedy (NPS)

7:30-8:30 PM – 40 Years of the Congaree Biosphere Region
Chair: Carson Lillard
Fran Rametta (NPS), Rachel Post (DOD), David Shelley (US Forest Service), Guillermo Espinosa (SCDOT)


9:00-10:15 AM – Session 1—Biodiversity and Conservation Research (Chair: John Kupfer)
Toby Feaster (USGS): An Overview of the USGS streamflow network and the importance of long-term records
Janet Steele (Clemson University): A thorny predicament: Assessing Eleagnus management strategies in wooded areas
Joe Quattro (USC): Population genetic structure for the synchronous firefly-Photuris frontalis

10:30-11:45 AM – Session 2—Integrating Local Communities in Research and Monitoring (Chair: Tameria Warren)
Jessica Elfenbein (USC): ): Shifting the narrative: How researching Congaree’s lumber, wood products and forest conservation Changes What We Know About SC’s History
Robert Reese (Town of Eastover): The Lower Richland CEAL collaborative: A STEM social justice initiative
Kirstin Dow (USC): Heat mapping in the Columbia Metro Region

1:00-2:15 PM – Session 3—Towards Environmentally Sustainable Regional Development in the Congaree Biosphere Region (Chair: John Grego)
Jeremy Dertien (University of Leipzig, Natura Connect): An integrated spatial prioritization for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
John Kupfer (USC): Spatial patterns of conservation benefits, priorities, and barriers
Lauren Doran (Green Infrastructure Center): The Green Heart: Protecting and connecting the Congaree Biosphere Region for wildlife and people

2:30-3:45 PM – Session 4—Monitoring Data and Park Management Panel (Chair: Greg Hauburger)
Gregory Cunningham (US Forest Service), Jonathan Manchester (Congaree National Park), Claudia Santiago (US EPA), Liz Struhar (US Forest Service)

4:00-5:00 pm – Session 5—The Future of Congaree Biosphere Region Panel (Chair: Cliff McCreedy)
Marie Adams (South East Rural Community Outreach), Arik Jensen/Quinton Epps (Richland County), Gregory Sprouse (Central Midlands Council of Governments)