Black Creek Plantation, 864 acres, Colleton County
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While there is an avid online debate about which ancient philosopher coined this phrase, one thing is for sure: it’s a great way to think about land conservation, especially when it comes to protecting multiple properties located within the ACE Basin, one of the largest intact ecosystems on the East Coast.
Imagine, for example, that LLT protects a property on the Combahee River with a conservation easement. That easement ensures that tract of land is protected in perpetuity, from the banks of the Combahee to its inland border, whether they are bottomland hardwood forests, active agricultural fields, or stands of longleaf and loblolly pine. Now imagine that LLT protects a second property, right next door to the first property. The second property acts as a buffer to the first, and the first does the same for the second, affording even greater protection to each. Now imagine that LLT protects a whole series of tracts up and down the Combahee. Each protected tract affords greater protection to all the other protected lands around them, and together these properties contribute to the health of the Combahee River as a whole and to water quality further downstream.
The best part about this hypothetical example? It’s a true story.
LLT is proud of our work in 2019 to protect Black Creek Plantation, an 864-acre working timberland tract and farm in Colleton County that runs along the Combahee River for 1.6 miles. Also home to braided streams that form part of the Combahee’s floodplain, Black Creek lies directly adjacent to other protected properties and is part of a significant complex of protected lands on both sides of the Combahee. LLT purchased the easement with funds from the South Carolina Conservation Bank, which is committed to taking proactive steps to protect water resources in the ACE Basin.
The easement that protects Black Creek will not only ensure Black Creek’s wetlands, hardwood forests, planted pine, and agricultural fields will continue to thrive, but it will also act as a multiplier. Add Black Creek’s protected lands to the others along and across the Combahee (think, “sum of the parts”), and together those lands will contribute to clean water downstream forever–a much greater “whole” and another ACE Basin happy ending.
Aerial photo by Green Eyes Aero