3 weeks ago

636 Acres in the Lynches River Watershed Now Conserved

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Over 630 acres along Red Oak Camp Creek, a tributary of the Lynches River in Kershaw County, are now conserved thanks to the collaborative efforts of the landowner, Congaree Land Trust (CLT) and the Lynches River Conservation Fund housed at Central Carolina Community Foundation (CCCF). Now under conservation easement, Red Oak Farm permanently protects a large tract of land within the Lynches River watershed—an area that fuels our natural resource based economy and provides clean and plentiful water and a habitat for native plants and animals. 

“Effective, proactive land stewardship requires that we think, collaborate, and act. We are grateful to the landowner and Lynches River Conservation Board for partnering on the conservation of an important watershed in our state,” says Stuart White, CLT Executive Director. 

The property, located in northwestern Kershaw County west of Carolina Sandhill National Wildlife Refuge, joins 1,536 total acres that have been conserved in Kershaw County by CLT. 

The property was purchased with a $174,462 grant award from the Lynches River Conservation Fund. The fund provides funding for land acquisition projects and easements to improve the water quality and ecological integrity of the Lynches River watershed. 

The Lynches River Conservation Fund Board consists of an elected official and representatives from Conservation Voters of South Carolina, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Winyah Rivers Foundation, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, and Haile Corporation. The fund is administered by Central Carolina Community Foundation. 

David Thomas, Vice-President of OceanaGold, the benefactor of this fund, states, “OceanaGold is honored to be engaged with efforts to expand Red Oak Farm. The additional land under conservation easement by Congaree Land Trust, and their stewardship, contribute greatly to this significant area of Kershaw County.” 

Healthy watersheds require forested land to provide clean air and water to surrounding communities. Red Oak Farm, largely forested with a mix of planted pine plantations as well as naturally regenerated longleaf and loblolly pine timber stands, bottomland hardwoods, mixed pine-hardwood, and pasture land, serves as a natural filter and riparian buffer for the property’s creek, the Lynches River, and its confluence, the Great Pee Dee River. 

With its close proximity to the public conserved lands of the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge and the S.C. Sandhills State Forest, this private land acquisition will expand an exceptional South Carolina wildlife corridor. Bottomland hardwood forests on the property support an abundant variety of wildlife while helping to reduce erosion and prevent flooding in the area. 

The Lynches River is a renowned recreational resource in the state for fishing, hunting, camping and boating. The public can also enjoy the rural scenic views protected along a country road alongside the farm. 

“I conserved this beautiful family property because I did not want to see it subdivided, or see it adversely impact the water quality of Red Oak Creek and the Lynches River,” says landowner Laura Balding. Through this collaborative conservation project, Red Oak Farm will remain a working farm or forest forever, aiding in the preservation of a healthy Lynches River watershed for the future. 

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About Congaree Land Trust: The Congaree Land Trust (CLT) was founded in 1992 by seven individuals committed to conserving the natural and scenic lands in central South Carolina. To date, over 77,000 acres have been conserved, representing 166 individual conservation easements across 13 counties. Conservation easements help protect the natural areas that fuel our state’s natural resource-based economy and define our way of life. Learn more: www.congareelt.org or contact Erin Eisele at erin@congareelt.org 

About Central Carolina Community Foundation: 

Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands' center for philanthropy, is a nonprofit organization serving 11 counties in the Midlands by distributing grants and scholarships and linking the resources of donors, nonprofits and area leaders to communities in need. Major initiatives include the online giving challenge Midlands Gives, On the Table, Connected Communities grants, the One SC Fund, the Best of Philanthropy Awards, and annual scholarships. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.yourfoundation.org or call 803.254.5601.