Noon today the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) announced a collaborative effort with Lowcountry Open Land Trust (LOLT), Coastal Conservation League (CCL) and Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) regarding the deepening of the Harbor and conservation of the Cooper River Corridor.
The centerpiece of the agreement is voluntary investment in the long term conservation of the Cooper River watershed. The significance of the Cooper River Corridor for our community cannot be understated. It is the twin corridor to the ACE Basin and a regional conservation priority. The landscape is rich in history, culture and conservation values.
The Port has committed $5 million to a Cooper River Conservation Fund to be administered by Lowcountry Open Land Trust over the coming years. This fund augments existing partnership efforts to conserve the Historic Cooper River and the Francis Marion. The Land Trust is particularly excited that the collaborative builds on existing corporate and industrial environmental leadership in Cooper River and the decades of state, federal and private conservation investments including South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Conservation Bank and the United States Forest Service. Elizabeth Hagood, Executive Director of Lowcountry Open Land Trust spoke at the announcement today saying, “This collaboration is a visionary solution that benefits South Carolina both economically and environmentally. It proves that economic growth and conservation of our natural resources go hand-in-hand, and are not mutually exclusive. We hope that this collaboration becomes the model for sustainable economic growth in South Carolina. Today, the Port joins Boeing as a leader in creative, environmentally oriented economic solutions.”
Lowcountry Open Land Trust and its conservation partners will leverage the State Ports Authority funds for maximum conservation outcomes – investing in Conservation easements, fee simple acquisition and new partnerships. The Land Trust welcomes the opportunity to work with economic solutions that balance conservation needs. This momentous collaboration will benefit South Carolina both economically and environmentally. It is a win-win for our region and our state.