A sprawling swatch of wildlife-rich marsh and smaller upland property at Kiawah Island were preserved in March by a donation and sale totaling 1,155 acres, which with other contributions protect all lowlands entering the barrier island.

In first quarter 2018, the Kiawah Conservancy doubled its footprint of properties set aside from development. Area residents formed the organization 21 years ago.

The environmental protections include a "generous" donation of 1,150 acres from Kiawah Partners, master developer of the 10,000 acre island. The inter-tidal lowlands, known as the Kiawah River Marsh East tract, are bordered by the island and Kiawah and Stono rivers.

Separately, five-acre Little Rabbit North, shaped like a finger, extends into the marsh between Mingo South and mainland Kiawah Island, according to sale backers. The exact price was not made public, but the property exchanged hands at "substantially below market value," according to the conservancy.

Kiawah Partners also turned over 720 acres of Kiawah River West marshlands and property on Mingo North last year. The combined lands "provide habitat for a wide variety of at risk, threatened and S.C. Department of Natural Resources 'highest priority' species," the conservancy says.

Dedicated to preserving Kiawah Island's natural areas, the conservancy to date has preserved 47 properties totaling more than 2,255 acres of pristine barrier island habitat.

In February 2017, the organization achieved the national recognition of Land Trust Accreditation, showing a commitment to professional excellence.

The Kiawah Conservancy "envisions all citizens of and visitors to this area enjoying the natural habitat, wildlife and unique beauty of Kiawah Island for generations to come." Go to www.kiawahconservancy.org.