The “rice fields accord” is a consensus reached among property owners, environmentalists and regulatory agencies that will save more of the Colonial-era rice fields from ruin and will benefit everyone who loves the Lowcountry. Conservationists have been working with agencies for years to streamline regulatory procedures for maintenance of tidal impoundments. This work paved the way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release the new tidal impoundment general permit, a revision that allows qualified owners to make timely repairs when a hurricane or storm tide damages the impoundment, instead of laboring through a lengthy and costly permitting process. The general permit will enable our conservation easment holders to better preserve their properties with these valuable wetland habitats.
Historic rice fields cover nearly 70,000 acres across the state’s coast along tidal rivers. They originated as walled impoundments with gates that were raised or lowered to draw tidal water in or out for growing rice. Today, rice fields provide a nursery and resting or feeding ground for waterfowl and other forms of wildlife.
The new general permit for tidal impoundments became finalized on July 10, 2012 and was announced at a press conference at Nemours Plantation on August 15, 2012. We want to commend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, regulatory agencies, and natural resource agencies for working together with conservationists to make the general permit a reality.
Check out the latest articles from the Charleston Mercury, The Post and Courier and DNR News on the “rice fields accord.”
We have also included a link to an article previously published in The Post and Courier that gives more details on the “accord.”