DILLON, SC (October 15, 2020) — The Open Space Institute (OSI), Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT), and Dillon County today announced the transfer of a scenic riverfront property to PDLT and Dillon County, for continued drinking water protection and flood mitigation.
The 96-acre property, originally purchased by OSI in 2018 and located to the north of Dillon County, touts 2,800 feet of scenic views on the SC Designated Scenic Little Pee Dee River. It also features habitat for a vast array of wildlife that make their home in the wetlands and upland forests. Intact watershed forests on the property act as a natural filter to clean drinking water downstream and can moderate the flow of water, reducing the risk of flooding downstream.
“With the transfer of this land, this forested wetland property is now in public hands, where it can continue to help reduce flooding threats while offering terrific recreational potential,” said Nate Barry, OSI’s senior vice president in South Carolina. “OSI is delighted to continue our commitment to South Carolina and the Little Pee Dee River, and are grateful for PDLT and Dillon County’s continued commitment to local residents and the river.”
“PDLT proudly collaborated with a large group of stakeholders to help lead this four-year project to a successful conservation outcome”, said Lyles Cooper, PDLT Executive Director. “This project is a great example of conservation organizations working with a county to help make planned economic development a reality, while preserving significant conservation resources for the community to enjoy for generations to come”.
“Dillon County is overjoyed to acquire this property. Future generations of our county will benefit not only from its recreational opportunities but also its role in mitigating flooding,” said Dillon County Council Chairman, Stevie Grice. “We thank OSI and PDLT for their tireless land protection efforts on behalf of the county.”
The property is adjacent to a 78-acre, forested wetland property that was put under permanent protection through a conservation easement held by PDLT for wetlands mitigation associated with the South Carolina Ports Authority’s Inland Port Dillon.
After the Inland Port Dillon Mitigation project was completed, OSI worked with PDLT to secure permanent protection of the 95 remaining, adjoining acres. PDLT bought the property from OSI — using funds that were secured from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grant through a partnership with NC Coastal Land Trust and the South Carolina Conservation Bank — and donated it to Dillon County who placed a conservation easement on the property. Now that it is in county hands, the donated property advances a longstanding vision for riverfront public access.
Both properties are also near or adjacent to other privately- and publicly-protected properties, including the state’s Little Pee Dee State Park and the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve.
The Little Pee Dee River is a 116-mile black water tributary of the Pee Dee River. The Little Pee Dee flows past cypress-tupelo swamps, ancient sloughs, and sandy stream bottoms, and is a popular recreation destination for fishing and boating.
Since 2013, OSI has protected more than 15,000 acres in South Carolina, from the mountains to coastal communities.