CHARLESTON, SC (Feb. 5, 2019)—In its latest conservation success in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has purchased a critical property that will protect drinking water and enhance regional wildlife connectivity, while advancing the greenbelt around the Charleston metropolitan region.
The 328-acre “Ridgeville Tract” is located just outside Ridgeville, SC, in the middle of the most threatened portion of the regional greenbelt area. Consisting of forested wetlands and uplands, the property contains both sides of Timothy Creek, which connects via Four Holes Swamp to the Edisto River — the longest undammed blackwater river in the North America and a drinking water source for the tri-county area. The property will be permanently protected through a conservation easement held by an accredited regional land trust.
“Protection of the Ridgeville property, in a developed section of the Lowcountry, is a huge conservation win for the citizens of the tri county area,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “These projects truly demonstrate the value of protecting land for habitat and drinking water. OSI is proud of our ongoing work in South Carolina and grateful to our many partners and local supporters.”
Near the Ridgeville property is the 18,000-acre Francis Beidler Forest. Managed by Audubon, the preserve includes one of the largest old-growth cypress-tupelo swamps in the world and is an internationally renowned birding area.
“The creative and effective use of wetlands mitigation dollars has set the stage for permanent protection of the Lowcountry’s most critical sites, commented Ashley Demosthenes, CEO, Lowcountry Land Trust. “This project is another example of innovative conservation.”
Conservation of the Ridgeville property was made possible through the use of wetlands mitigation dollars. Over the last four years, OSI and partners have protected more than 10,000 acres in South Carolina with the use of this important source of conservation funding.