The Ebb & Flow

President’s Log: September 22, 2020

“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free, Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea.” — Sidney Lanier

Dear Friends,

Today marks the first day of fall, and in the Lowcountry, this is a very special time of year. For those of us who live here, this means that soon we will be eating delicious fall oysters, attending fall festivals, and, of course, enjoying “sweater weather.” For me, personally, this means that my four little boys no longer get to use the excuse “it’s too hot” when I tell them to go outside and play. For this reason alone, fall might be my very favorite season of all.

I am blessed to live adjacent from a gorgeous marsh and I like to sit on my front steps, cup of tea in hand, and watch all the little goings on that happen in that complex little world. There really never is a dull moment. At high tide, I often see birds diving for their next meal, kayakers paddling by, and even dolphins and small sharks. At low tide, I enjoy watching birds scavenging for crustaceans and my neighbors crabbing by hand.

It’s easy to forget that just as we are experiencing the changing of the seasons, so too are our beloved marshes. When we moved into this house, I became fascinated by the marsh and the ecosystem within and did as much research as I could to learn about what happens beyond the ebb and flow of the tide. What I learned is that fall is a critical time for our marshes and the changes they undergo during this period prepare them for the death that comes with winter and the rebirth that comes with spring.

The Cordgrass, or Spartina, begins to dull in color and small, white flowers develop along the upper stalks, forming seed heads that are eventually dispersed onto the pluff mud. These seeds will form next year’s crop, as well as provide food for seed-eating birds. Small rodents also take advantage of this food source, which attracts hawks and other predatory birds. As the water temperatures fall, many of the shrimp and fish migrate to these offshore waters; redfish and striped bass begin their winter feeds; and other species of fish come in to spawn. All of this makes fall an ideal time for fishing and shrimping. Learning about all these little connections was fascinating.

We all know that marshes are crucial in buffering sea and storm waters, slowing shoreline erosion, absorbing nutrients that would otherwise lower oxygen levels in the sea, and offering shelter and food sources for many of the creatures that, like us, call the Lowcountry home. At Lowcountry Land Trust, we are proud to say that we own and protect 1,929 acres of marshland on the Ashley and Kiawah Rivers!

If you feel inspired, please join me in learning more about these incredible wetlands. It is through education that we can truly appreciate all that our wonderful marshes provide. Thank you for the many different ways you support the Lowcountry Land Trust. We simply could not do our work without you.

With warm regards,

Bonny Southworth
Database Manager & Analyst
Lowcountry Land Trust

Bonny’s view of the Lowcountry marsh.

Monday, September 14th: Megan Ramsey, Chief Finance Officer, kicked off LLT’s annual auditing process.

Tuesday, September 15th: Ellen Blake, Executive Administrator & Board Liaison, who introduced a great online Board engagement tool to LLT this year called “Boardable,” participated in sharing tips on the app’s use during a Virtual Coffee Hour with the Boardable team and new users.

Wednesday, September 16th: Josh Bell, South Coast Project Manager, attended the ACE Basin Task Force meeting at Fort Johnson, where partners gave updates on land protection and habitat enhancement projects. Josh reported on LLT’s 1,373-acre Willow Lake project closing.

Thursday, September 17th: Nathan Moyer, Senior Stewardship Program Manager, advanced the management and resolution of activities on several conservation easements. LLT’s Stewardship Team makes the promise of in-perpetuity protection a reality, keeping track every year of what happens on protected lands and ensuring that our easements accomplish their conservation purposes.

Friday, September 18th: Ashton Lamb, North Coast Project Manager, made the best of wet conditions and monitored his last four properties of the year. He was thrilled to see his first black bear in the Lowcountry on a protected property near Georgetown, SC!

Rain or shine, LLT’s Stew Crew is busy monitoring easements throughout the year.

OTHER NEWS:

Digital Energy Innovation: LLT Business Leadership Council member, bp, and Microsoft Corp announced that they are embarking on a new strategic partnership to drive digital energy innovation and advance net zero goals. These two global companies intend to work together to develop new technology innovations and digital solutions to help meet their sustainability aims, including reducing energy use and carbon emissions. bp will supply Microsoft with renewable energy to help meet the company’s 2025 renewable energy goals and Microsoft will further bp’s digital transformation with Azure cloud services. Read the full story here.

“Your Land” Webinar Series: Are you a woman who owns, cares for, or is interested in learning more about woodlands? Join Women Owning Woodlands– South Carolina for a FREE 4-part webinar series that will highlight sustainable forestry, forest health, and management of non-timber resources. Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) engages and educates women in stewardship of land by connecting them to resources, trusted professionals, and a community of other women. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

[The President’s Log will feature a series of rotating guest writers, including LLT staff and board, as well as friends of Lowcountry Land Trust]

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