CHARLESTON, S.C. – Aug. 3, 2018 – South Carolinians will have more clean water, natural areas and better wildlife habitat thanks to the reauthorization of the South Carolina Conservation Bank. The reauthorization was finalized at a ceremonial signing on July 31, by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
Ducks Unlimited, along with other conservation groups and partners, is working to ensure this significant source of funding for wetlands and waterfowl conservation is here to help the state’s natural resources for decades to come.
“The Conservation Bank’s funding is leveraged with federal and private dollars to conserve our lands, waters and wildlife. These efforts support our sportsmen and women, landowners, indeed, all our citizens,” said Rep. Brian White, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “Everyone benefits from these resources. With support from the Conservation Bank, there have been important projects in almost all of South Carolina’s 46 counties to conserve more than 288,000 acres.”
South Carolina’s natural resources are important not only for recreation and human health, but also as a significant economic engine in the state. According to researchers at Clemson University and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, natural resource-based sectors such as fishing, hunting, other outdoor recreation and forestry annually contribute $33.4 billion dollars in economic activity and 218,719 jobs to the state’s economy.
“Since it was established, the Conservation Bank’s voluntary, incentive-based approach has protected almost 300,000 acres at a cost of just $500 an acre,” said Senator Chip Campsen, author of the original Conservation Bank Act. “Now that it is permanently re-authorized, it will help protect many more acres, thus preserving South Carolina’s unsurpassed natural resources for the benefit of generations to come.”
Ducks Unlimited and partners have used Conservation Bank grants to deliver more than $19 million in conservation projects in South Carolina. Most of the waterfowl habitat restoration projects DU accomplishes on public lands in South Carolina would not be possible without the Conservation Bank.
“South Carolina is a leader in land conservation,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Jamie Rader. “The state’s sportsmen, visitors and lawmakers have long valued South Carolina’s rich waterfowl hunting history and natural resource legacy. This commitment to conservation is demonstrated by the permanent renewal of the South Carolina Conservation Bank.”
The legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the General Assembly, was signed into law by McMaster on May 18. The bill permanently reauthorizes the Bank, calls for continued allowance for voluntary conservation easements, supports science-based review and prioritization of projects, modifies the Board structure, and supports coordination with other land conservation efforts.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.