COLLETON COUNTY, SC—Building on its work in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Open Space Institute (OSI) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) have achieved another critical conservation success along the Edisto River. Protected by OSI in 2019, the land’s transfer to SC DNR will continue to safeguard drinking water downriver for the Charleston metropolitan area, while creating a critical connector for additional state lands nearby.
Sitting adjacent to one of the most-used access points on the popular Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail, the approximately 150-acre “Good Hope” property consists of mature, forested floodplain. Rainfall onto the property drains directly into the Edisto River, immediately above the emergency drinking water intake for the municipalities of Charleston and North Charleston. The river is also home to the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail, a 62-mile trail offering picturesque camping and picnicking sites.
“This enhancement to the Edisto River is a tremendous achievement in safeguarding both public access and drinking water for the local and regional communities,” said Nate Berry, OSI’s senior vice president in South Carolina. “This project truly demonstrates the value of land protection. OSI is proud of our ongoing work in South Carolina and grateful to our many partners and local supporters.”
The Good Hope property is adjacent to approximately 200 acres recently acquired by the Lowcountry Land Trust for SC DNR — and just across the river from the almost 7,000-acre Edisto Wildlife Management Area, also managed by the SC DNR.
The longest undammed blackwater river in North America, the Edisto River sustains not only around a third of all of South Carolina’s crops and livestock, but also several federally endangered, threatened, and at-risk species. These include the red-cockaded woodpecker, wood stork, Atlantic sturgeon, spotted turtle, and Carolina-bird-in-a-nest. About a third of all State priority fish species of conservation concern are found in the Edisto River system.
With its conservation, the property brings the total of acres conserved by OSI in South Carolina over the past five years to more than 15,000.