South Carolina

(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project(s):

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (“DHEC”) Adopt-A-Stream Program uses volunteers to monitor the physical and chemical properties of streams, and survey bacteria and macro-invertebrate populations. See Adopt-A-Stream Program, S.C. Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Control, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). This data is used to assess the health of the streams. See id.


The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources manages and provides links for multiple wildlife observation citizen science projects within the state, including, but not limited to SC Bat Watch!. See Citizen Science Opportunities, S.C. Dep’t of Nat. Resources, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“Without the effective consent of the owner, and with the intent to disrupt or damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility, it is unlawful for a person to:

(1) enter an animal facility, not then open to the public, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section;

(2) remain concealed, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section, in an animal facility; or

(3) enter an animal facility and commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section.”  S.C. Code Ann. § 47-21-50.


A violation of this section is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 3 years. Id. § 47-21-80(A).

Scientific Collection Permit:

A scientific collection permit is required for individuals and institutions to conduct scientific studies that may take or otherwise disturb protected wildlife. See S.C. Code Ann. § 50-11-1180.


Operating in violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $100 or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days and any permit issued to the violator will be revoked. See id. 

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  “Notice . . . prohibiting . . . entry” is a necessary element of criminal trespass, and it may be provided by posting notice in four places around the perimeter of the property.  S.C. Code Ann. § 16-11-600.


Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”


Stalking Laws: 


“‘Stalking’ means a pattern of words, whether verbal, written, or electronic, or a pattern of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to cause and does cause a targeted person and would cause a reasonable person in the targeted person’s position to fear: ...

(6) damage to the property of the person or a member of his family.” S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1700(C).

Use of Information:

Our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is good ground to support” the claim. S.C. R. Civ. P. 11(a).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  S.C. R. Evid. 901(a).

Expert Testimony:

South Carolina Rule of Evidence 702 and Jones standard to determine reliability; Daubert standard is instructive.  See State v. Council, 515 S.E.2d 508, 517-18 (S.C. 1999); State v. Jones, 259 S.E.2d 120, 124 (S.C. 1979).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.