WAYNE COUNTY, GA (Dec. 16, 2020)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today its latest conservation success along coastal southeastern Georgia. In its fourth significant land acquisition in the state, OSI secured additional habitat for the threatened gopher tortoise thanks to a discounted sale and transfer by Southern Power.
The nearly 2,500-acre Wayne County Conservation property (photos and map available here) is adjacent to more than 1,600 acres protected by OSI and transferred to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2019. Conservation of the Wayne County Conservation property brings the public-private Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative (GTCI) to more than 80 percent of its goal, to protect the viable gopher tortoise populations required to preclude the species’ listing under the Endangered Species Act.
OSI, along with its partners The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Fund, have contributed nearly a third of the total 100,000 acres targeted for conservation by the GTCI, through the protection of four properties in Georgia.
“The Open Space Institute is proud to have protected this amazing property for Georgia’s state reptile, the gopher tortoise, and the incredible array of other species that call this land home,” said Maria Whitehead, Senior Project Director at OSI. “I thank Southern Power for their incredible generosity in selling this property at a significantly discounted price to make the permanent protection of the land a reality.”