Audubon South Carolina has prioritized land conservation since it's creation. As a land owner and manager, we understand the importance of strategic conservation of land in our state to ensure both birds and people benefit.
To this end, we have worked at the Statehouse to permanently reauthorize and secure funding for the SC Conservation Bank, which exists to improve the quality of life in South Carolina through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, and urban parks. Due to our advocacy alongside our partners, the Conservation Bank received over $30 million this year.
In December 2020, the Greenville County Council established the Historic and Natural Resources Trust (HNRT) – a framework to protect land, historic resources and parks in Greenville County. However, only months later the County Council approved a budget that did not provide funding for the HNRT.
Without funding, the HNRT would not be able to fulfill the very mission it was created for – to conserve those natural areas most important to birds and people. Greenville is one of the fastest growing areas in South Carolina, which is great for the community and economy, however, we also have a duty to protect the natural resources and quality of life that make Greenville a desirable place to live and work.
Audubon South Carolina advocates in Greenville County shared their voices alongside numerous partners in advance and during a County Council meeting on July 20, 2021, where the budget was reconsidered. In a major reversal after hearing the strong support from the community for the program, the Council decided to provide $2 million for the HNRT with $1 million in the current budget and $1 million in the 2022-23 budget.
We are proud that our advocates in Greenville made their voices heard and thank the County Council for funding the HNRT. It is important that the same natural resources that make Greenville a top destination for people to live, work and recreate will be also protected for the benefit of birds, like the Wood Thrush and Broad-winged Hawk.
Audubon South Carolina leverages our partnerships and the tireless efforts of our advocates across the state to secure victories like this funding. Together we protect birds and the places they need. Audubon South Carolina’s top priority in 2022 is working with the Governor, legislators, and key stakeholders to advance a significant land protection bill and funding to ensure birds have the places they need to rest, nest and thrive.