It’s the Elliotts’ fourth land-protection arrangement with the Nature Conservancy, the organization said.
The easement creates a permanent buffer of bottomland hardwoods along more than two miles of Long Branch Creek, a tributary feeding the Savannah River.
“Simply stated, it’s much less expensive to take proactive, natural measures to maintain good water quality than it is to treat unclean water,” said David Bishop, the Nature Conservancy’s coastal and Midlands conservation director.
The easement contributes to nearly 130,000 acres of protected land along the Savannah River through support from the Savannah River Clean Water Fund, a nearly decade-old organization that brings together landowners, five water utilities and companies in Georgia and South Carolina in initiatives to preserve forests.
International Paper, the first private-sector company to join the fund, contributed financially to the latest easement.
The South Carolina Conservation Bank, which has contributed nearly $45 million to 93 land protection projects in the Savannah River Basin, also made a major grant to secure the newest easement.
“Lowlands and the adjoining privately owned, protected properties provide public benefits well beyond their boundaries,” said South Carolina Conservation Bank Director Raleigh West. “The Nature Conservancy’s ability to work at such a significant scale is to the benefit of the residents of Savannah, Hilton Head, Beaufort and the communities in between.”
John Deem covers climate change and the environment on the Georgia coast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Preservation of 1,200 acres aims to protect Savannah River
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