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Land Conservation

Winyah Rivers is committed to protect the health of the lands and waters of the greater Winyah Bay watershed. We work with a diverse group of conservation partners to advance this mission. And, where a need is identified for our organization to take ownership, we evaluate the potential land acquisition using our Board approved Land Acquisition Guidelines, Policies and Procedures.

Waccamaw River Conservation

Upper Waccamaw Task Force – we work collaboratively with partners focused on identifying and protecting land parcels that have high conservation values and lead to landscape-scale land preservation and stewardship.

Waccamaw River Blue Trail – created through a partnership led by Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, American Rivers and Pee Dee Land Trust to promote conservation and recreation along its 140+ miles in the coastal plain of the Carolinas. Recognized as a keystone project in 2012, in 2013 100 river miles in South Carolina were designated a National Water Trail by the National Park Service of the US Department of the Interior.

Partnership with The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina – resulted in ownership of ~7 acres adjacent to the Waccamaw River in the Nakina area of NC to permanently protect and provide passive access to the Waccamaw River Blue Trail; assisted with the acquisition of Cove Swamp, a 441 acre tract of forested wetland that is now part of Lake Waccamaw State Park.

Partnership with North Carolina Coastal Land Trust – resulted in NCCLT’s purchase of ~3,000 acres connecting 20,000 acres of the Columbus County Game Lands with 17,000 acres of The Nature Conservancy’s Green Swamp Preserve (one of the largest conservation corridors in the state of North Carolina); and the transfer of a 197 acre parcel to Lake Waccamaw State Park (a portion of a 670 acre parcel that the Coastal Land Trust purchased in 2014 and featuring almost 1.5 miles of wooded frontage along the Waccamaw River).

Black River Conservation

Rocky Point Community Forest – In 2015, we acquired Rocky Point, a 462 acre property located on the Black River near Choppee. With help from Georgetown County Parks and Recreation Department and other partners, we have returned to public access its boat launch and have many ongoing and future plans (including developing it into coastal South Carolina’s first public use community forest, creating trails, etc.). Stay up to date via Facebook.

Black Scenic River Advisory Council – we are proud to partner with the Black Scenic River Advisory Council and its conservation efforts. Stay up to date via Facebook.

Lynches River Conservation

As a member of the Lynches River Conservation Board, we participate in the fund for land conservation/acquisition in the SC region of the Lynches River watershed. More information is available on the Lynches River Conservation website.

HISTORY

The mission of Winyah Rivers is to protect, preserve, monitor and revitalize the health of the lands and waters of the greater Winyah Bay watershed and we take that mission very seriously. Since Winyah Rivers was formed, we have worked with land conservation partners throughout our greater Winyah Bay watershed.

In 2015, a major change occurred within our organization when we partnered with The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina and others to acquire property for conservation on the Black River in Georgetown County. This resulted in Winyah Rivers becoming a landowner for the first time. This led to an updated strategic plan, developed in 2016 with the support of the Waccamaw Community Foundation, that included strategies to direct our activities with respect to land conservation:

Assessment of our land conservation strategies/ efforts. In light of 2015 purchase of Rocky Point Community Forest and upcoming acquisition of the Singleton Tract special attention needs to be given to this aspect of our programming.”

And the following Action Steps:

  • Evaluate WRF’s position on incorporating land acquisition into the strategy including budget, time frame, and resources;
  • Continue to explore resources to support our existing land conservation efforts including Rocky Point, Singleton, and land conservation advisory partnerships such as the Upper Waccamaw Task Force and source water protection efforts.

As a result, and with the support of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, we hired a land conservation consultant to evaluate and make recommendations regarding our land conservation strategy. We recognized that, as a land owner and with a growing need for protecting lands important for conservation and/or for river access, we needed to evaluate the role Winyah Rivers can assume in ongoing land conservation and ownership.

With the help of consultant Charles Roe and our Strategic Planning Committee, WRF’s Board of Directors voted in favor of the following:

  • Adoption of Land Trust Standards and Practices as guiding principles to assure responsible, effective governance and operation of our organization (Land Trust Standards and Practices are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust. The Land Trust Alliance drafted the first Standards in 1989 at the urging of land trusts and to affirm certain best practices as the surest way to secure lasting conservation and updates these regularly to maintain the land trust community’s strength, credibility and effectiveness;
  • To consider additional land acquisitions where that land is determined to be critically important for protection of clean water, natural resources conservation, and water-based public recreation and education (note: we will not hold conservation easements deed restrictions but will instead rely on other conventional land trusts and conservancies to arrange, manage and enforce such conservation management agreements on private properties);
  • Adoption of policies and procedures for acquiring ownership title to other land properties in the future, and associated evaluation and selection criteria for determining whether to undertake such land acquisitions using our Board approved Land Acquisition Guidelines, Policies and Procedures.

We are proud to be a partner in land conservation within our greater Winyah Bay watershed.

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Winyah Rivers Alliance

P.O. Box 554 | 301 Allied Drive
Conway, SC 29528
843 .349 .4007
winyahrivers@winyahrivers.org

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