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OSI Secures Critical Conservation Grants to Create Riverfront Public Park Along Pee Dee River

Photo Credit: John Moore

DILLON, SC (Aug. 21, 2020)—A long-awaited riverfront park along the Little Pee Dee River is on the road to becoming a reality, thanks to funding secured, in part, by the Open Space Institute (OSI). A 174-acre river-front property, conserved by OSI, is expected to be transferred to Pee Dee Land Trust and Dillon County for the creation of the new, public park.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and the South Carolina Conservation Bank (SCCB) grants were secured through a partnership of OSI, the Pee Dee Land Trust, and Dillon County.

“A new public park for the people of Dillon County is the perfect outcome of this important conservation project,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “Many thanks to the Pee Dee Land Trust and Dillon County for their partnership and tireless efforts to see this park become a reality.”

The Dillon property was originally acquired to mitigate unavoidable wetland impacts associated with a new inland port. After the South Carolina Ports Authority completed the port project, however, it left OSI with 95 acres of mature floodplain forest without a clear disposition plan.

To create the park, OSI, the Pee Dee Land Trust, and Dillon County applied for the NAWCA and SCCB grants, also citing the impact of the property’s forests in downriver flood mitigation.

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.

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