Lowcountry Land Trust Protects Land on the Black River
Millgrove Plantation adds to larger Black River conservation effort
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Lowcountry Land Trust has announced the permanent protection of 444 acres on the Black River in Georgetown County with a conservation easement.
The property, known as Millgrove Plantation, fronts the Black River, which flows unobstructed to Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and is situated near the Rocky Point Community Forest. The protection of Millgrove Plantation will benefit not just this section of the Black River but the greater watershed as a whole.
This conservation easement accompanies a large cluster of private, permanently protected properties upstream on the Black River, some of which lie within a 75-mile portion of the river from Clarendon County to Pea House Landing in Georgetown County designated as a State Scenic River that includes the location of the newly-designated Black River State Park. Further downstream, as the Black River approaches the bay, there is a significant complex of protected lands, both public and private.
Lowcountry Land Trust and partners hope the protection of Millgrove Plantation will encourage additional conservation of private lands within the surrounding section of the river and provide a link to the larger areas of conservation both up and downstream. In addition, traditional land uses, including farming and hunting, will be preserved and future forest fragmentation will be reduced.
The project was propelled by funding from the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Additional partners who provided support include Ducks Unlimited and the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), via a grant through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
“The momentum of land protection along the Black River continues with the addition of Millgrove to the seven other properties that the Conservation Bank has helped to protect,” commented Raleigh West, executive director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “I commend the collaboration between local, state, and federal entities as well as the willingness of a conservation-minded landowner to bring this project to fruition.” To date, the South Carolina Conservation Bank has provided over $2.9 million in funding to Black River Projects, resulting in 3,100 acres and 4.5 miles of river frontage protected.
The property is ecologically diverse, containing uplands filled with pines, various species of hardwoods, and native grasses and forbs, as well as wetlands with forested stream systems and remnants of historic rice fields. The land provides a variety of wildlife habitats that can support many rare and declining species. Several species that thrive in this environment are listed as “Highest Priority” per the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan. This conservation easement will permanently protect the Black River’s floodplain and associated wetland tributary systems, including important palustrine forested wetlands that are by far the greatest category of wetlands being lost annually in South Carolina and throughout the southeast according to the USFWS.
“We are happy to protect this significant piece of land in this crucial area,” commented Ashley Demosthenes, president and CEO, Lowcountry Land Trust. “The conservation efforts on the Black River are essential to the ecological health of the Lowcountry, and I am grateful for the South Carolina Conservation Bank, NAWCA, Ducks Unlimited, and the landowner, David Dukes, for their support.”