Black River, SC
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Letter from Kim Elliman

Photo Credit: Mac Stone

To our friends and partners in the Carolinas

OSI shares in the nation’s heartfelt concern for the communities in North and South Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence. As floodwaters recede and people trickle back to their homes, we are mindful of the long recovery that lies ahead. In particular, we are thinking about the communities in which we work — where we consider ourselves partners and neighbors. Indeed, several of our most recent Carolina projects are highlighted in this newsletter.

I know it is difficult to think long-term at times like these, but the disturbing media images require us to consider how we, as a society, respond to these intensifying storms. 

In the struggle against flooding and other severe weather exacerbated by a changing climate, landscape-level conservation remains a key ally in defending our communities and our infrastructure. 

When kept unspoiled, wetlands and forests act as natural sponges that trap and slowly release water. Vegetation can slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them over the floodplain, in the process lowering flood heights and reducing erosion.

When coupled with sustainable city planning, building codes, and other solutions, not only can land protection safeguard homes and businesses, it can save our communities over the long term by minimizing the use of expensive dredges and levees.

We are hopeful that, with the deployment of long-term solutions coupled with landscape-level land conservation, future generations are better prepared for the unthinkable. 

But most important, to OSI’s friends and neighbors in the Carolinas, we wish you a safe and speedy recovery.  

Sincerely,  

Kim Elliman