SOUTH CAROLINA (June 29, 2023) —Today, the South Carolina Office of Resilience (SCOR) released the first-ever statewide resilience plan, which will guide state investment in flood mitigation and resilience projects to protect people and property in the state. In response, Audubon South Carolina Executive Director Rebecca Haynes issued the following statement:
"The devil is in the implementation, but SCOR’s resilience plan is thoughtful, thorough and comprehensive, which is how I would describe the agency’s approach to the planning process, as well. From the outset, SCOR’s leadership was intentional about seeking input and expertise from of a diverse group of stakeholders. More importantly, they were earnest in their willingness to listen to and incorporate the feedback they received.
Audubon South Carolina strongly advocated for the importance of prioritizing the use of nature-based solutions, which are an effective, economically viable, and environmentally conscious means of protecting vulnerable frontline communities against the often-devastating effects of storms and flooding. I see evidence of this perspective carried through to the final plan in the agency’s decision to identify land conservation as an essential tool for flood mitigation and emphasize the important co-benefits that natural infrastructure provides to birds and communities.
The threat that extreme storms and flooding pose to our state is real and ever-increasing. SCOR’s resilience plan demonstrates the agency’s understanding of the magnitude and urgency of this threat, and the responsibility the agency bears when it comes to taking significant, proactive measures to protect human lives and livelihoods first and foremost, while also conserving the state’s valuable natural resources today, and well into the future."
The creation of the South Carolina Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan (Statewide Resilience Plan) was mandated by S.259, the same legislation, championed by Audubon South Carolina and passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2020, that created the South Carolina Office of Resilience. It was completed after a two-year planning process that included extensive input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including government entities, industry and non-profits. Audubon South Carolina contributed directly to the plan, participating in the Environmental Systems Subcommittee, several ad hoc committees, and the Conservation Working Group.
The recommendations it puts forth are both stakeholder informed and grounded in scientific data, including recent climate trends and geographic, environmental, and socio-economic vulnerability assessments.
The most notable recommendations include:
Creating a grant program to protect lands that provide high flood mitigation value;
Using SCOR’s flood mitigation conservation map in all state agency planning;
Creating protections for isolated wetlands that may no longer be protected under federal law after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Sackett v. EPA
Evaluating energy efficiency standards to ensure the resilience of the electric grid;
Creating best management practices for communities to incorporate resilience into their comprehensive plans, including greenspace siting and use of natural infrastructure;
Promoting resilient development through zoning and land use regulations; and
Reviewing stormwater infrastructure design regulations with the acknowledgement that the long-term cost of natural infrastructure can be lower than traditional infrastructure, in addition to the co-benefits to wildlife and people.
About Audubon South Carolina
Audubon South Carolina protects birds and the places they need, right here in South Carolina. We’re the state office of the National Audubon Society, which has more than one million members and a century-long track record of success. In South Carolina, we represent nearly 30,000 Audubon members and supporters, nine Audubon chapters and bird club partners, two Audubon nature centers and more than 30,000 acres of land that we own and manage using bird- and climate-friendly forestry. Learn more about what we do and how to help at sc.audubon.org. Follow us on Facebook at @scaudubon, Twitter at @audubonsc, and Instagram at @audubon_sc.
About National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
Julia Dietz, Policy Director