12,000 acres added by Nature Conservancy

The Southern leopard frog is one of the native Lowcountry species given a little more protection by an easement negotiated by The Nature Conservancy along the Coosawhatchie River.

More than 12,000 acres, including seven miles along streams, has been put into conservation easement by The Nature Conservancy, the latest piece in an emerging network of riverland wildlife corridors across the Lowcountry.

The property is timberland between the Savannah and Coosawhatchie rivers near Hampton, owned by the Westervelt Co. River corridors are considered prime conservation land because they provide for the movement of wildlife and native plants, as well as water quality, recreation and quality of life. The waterfront lands also are target areas for development.

The Coosawhatchie feeds the Broad River near Beaufort, adjacent to the landmark ACE Basin conservation area closer to Charleston. The conservancy, which negotiates easements or buys land to protect it, has helped preserve about 361,487 acres in South Carolina, including the prized Black Rover narrows near Andrews.

A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement by a landowner to limit certain types of development while allowing traditional uses such as timbering, farming or hunting. The easement was paid for by a $2.4 million grant from the South Carolina Conservation Bank. The company donated 60 percent of the value, according to a conservancy release.

“More than 550,000 people get their drinking water from the lower Savannah, and forests like this have a real benefit to water quality,” said David Bishop, a conservancy project director. “This is a vital forested landscape that now will always be that way.”

Editors note: Earlier versions of this story contained an error.

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