Monday, May 25th: I spent Memorial Day with my family enjoying the freedom to explore our magnificent estuarine resources. Here is a brief clip of my children frolicking in the surf at a sandbar located at the confluence of the North Edisto River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Tuesday, May 26th: The LLT Stewardship team met to discuss options for completing our 2020 conservation easement monitoring requirements. We are exploring remote satellite monitoring, which would be a new and very useful tool for the Land Trust. Many land trusts around the country have incorporated remote satellite monitoring into their programs to enhance and leverage their ability to monitor vast landscapes.
Wednesday, May 27th: Chief Conservation Officer David Ray, Senior Stewardship Program Manager Nathan Moyer, and North Coast Project Manager Ashton Lamb met virtually with several partners to discuss the status of the Keystone Tract and associated wetlands mitigation activities. Don’t remember Keystone? Quick flashback: The collaboration between the Boeing Company, LLT, SC Department of Natural Resources, Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy, the US Forest Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers to protect more than 4,000 acres of strategic land in a critical landscape is still heralded as a model for how to effectively marry economic development interests with conservation. The EPA even did a study on the project, titled “Best Practices in Permitting: Good for the Economy, Good for the Environment” and created this brief video to describe the innovative approach.
Thursday, May 28th: Stewardship Coordinator Maggie Gardner continued cleaning up and reorganizing all of LLT’s stewardship files (some close to 30 years old). She continues to advance stewardship activities occurring on LLT easements towards completion and resolution this year. Can you wrap your head around being responsible for more than 500 property interests? Successful conservation over a 34-year period generates a stack of paperwork. We’ll take it! 🙂
Friday, May 29th: South Coast Manager Josh Bell and Conservation Coordinator Alison Cercy compiled and sent to the SC Conservation Bank all required due diligence (final appraisal, title work, Phase 1 environmental assessment, and more) associated with the 1,373 acre Willow Lake Tract in Bamberg County on the Edisto River. We anticipate closing this bargain sale easement no later than June 30, 2020.
2019 Project Spotlight: At Lowcountry Land Trust, we are proud of our efforts to protect nearly 55,000 acres in the ACE Basin, and we can’t wait to protect the next 50,000. Last summer, we inched closer to our next milestone with the protection of Holly Bluff II, a 449-acre property near Yemassee that is owned by Todd and Melissa Crosby. Read on to learn about Holly Bluff II and the growing conservation movement along the Combahee River in our 2019 Project Spotlight Series.
Aerial photo by Green Eyes Aero
Syndicated Easement Scrutiny: I was interviewed by Myrtle Beach Online to voice my concern on syndicated easement promoters in Horry County. Read on in, “$1.2 billion in conserved property? Donations in Horry County face federal scrutiny.”
In a 2019 Op Ed in The Post and Courier, Chief Conservation Officer at LLT, David Ray, explains that “syndicated conservation easements often involve a complicated partnership structure by which each partner may claim tax deductions greatly in excess of their initial investment. Further, they may inflate property values and the size of the “charitable contribution” to claim larger tax deductions. The practice stands to cast a shadow on tax incentives important to the work of the nation’s accredited land trusts.”
Pee Dee River Conservation: The State reports, “the federal government is buying a centuries old plantation that includes historic rice fields, expansive live oak trees and a long-leaf pine forest along the Pee Dee River on South Carolina’s northern coast. Hasty Point Plantation, among a corridor of old plantations along the river in Georgetown County, will become part of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge when the deal closes later this year, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.”
Passing the Torch: Former CEO of The Orvis Company, Perk Perkins, joined us as keynote speaker at our FLOURISH event this past January. As of this week, The Orvis Company has appointed Perk’s 36-year-old son, Simon Perkins, as the new President. Forbes reports in, “A Millennial Takes The Helm Of The 164-Year-Old Orvis Company.”
Eat More Local Shrimp: Shrimping season is upon us and local shrimpers need your support. The Post & Courier reports, “Consumers can help take up the slack by buying off the docks or by favoring restaurants that buy local. In general, shrimpers depend on direct retail for roughly half their revenue and restaurants for the other half. And with the restaurant industry depressed, they’ll need increased local demand to help fill the gap.”