Do you want more outdoor adventure close to home? More natural beauty close to home? More habitat for birds and other wildlife close to home? So do we.
That's why we're concerned about the future of a great program that protects South Carolina's natural landscapes. That program, the South Carolina Conservation Bank, could soon be on the chopping block -- unless we all take a moment to reach out to our state legislators.
Benefit to Birds
Today, more than one-third of North America’s bird species are at risk of extinction unless we take significant conservation action. The most vulnerable species include many South Carolina favorites: American Oystercatchers, Little Blue Herons, Wood Thrushes, Willets, and more.
The most urgent need for birds today is to protect or restore habitat that’s vanishing due to urbanization and climate change. That’s exactly what the Conservation Bank helps us accomplish.
A Proven Success
South Carolina’s most important state tool for land conservation, the Conservation Bank has helped our state protect nearly 300,000 acres of forests, wetlands, historic sites, farms, and urban parks since 2002. Remarkably, the program has paid an average of just 17 cents on the dollar compared to fair market value for the land it's protected.
The Conservation Bank was critical, for example, in Audubon South Carolina's ability to expand Beidler Forest. In 2005, Conservation Bank funds helped us match federal grants to add 2,400 acres to Beidler.
Not only is the Conservation Bank a proven way to protect habitat for birds and other wildlife; it also boosts our state’s economy.
In 2011, consumers spent $2 billion in South Carolina on wildlife recreation. Each year, they spend $18 billion on outdoor recreation. Companies like Boeing, BMW, and Michelin have chosen to invest in South Carolina in part because of our quality of life.
With 50% of the land protected by the Conservation Bank open for unlimited public use, and another 30% open upon request to the landowner, this program is a clear win-win for South Carolina!
Funding Will End
Despite its obvious success, the Conservation Bank’s funding automatically ends on June 30, 2018. Please help keep this program alive by taking action during this year’s legislative session.
And here’s the good news -- taking action has never been easier. Use Audubon’s easy automated system to send an email to your South Carolina legislators, urging them to continue funding the Conservation Bank.
Questions? Check out these links for more details:
- SC Conservation Bank Website
- Fact Sheet: Palmetto Land + Water Legacy Alliance
- Fact Sheet: The Nature Conservancy, South Carolina
Thank you so much for standing up for the birds we love. Audubon South Carolina members are making a big difference!
Sharon E. Richardson is the Executive Director of Audubon South Carolina.