As we continue to adjust to this new normal, we can all appreciate the simplicity and wonders nature provides — gardens are growing, birds seem to be singing louder, buds are opening right before our eyes, and we are now able to again enjoy the Upstate’s waterways and trails. We are so fortunate to have such incredible outdoor areas in which to find solace, healing, exercise, and family fun.
Our team at Upstate Forever and our partners work to expand these natural areas throughout our region, protect farmland, and safeguard our water resources to make our communities stronger and more resilient. We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our communities in this way — and grateful to be able to continue this important work even as much of our world has paused.
Over the past two months, so much has happened:
- The Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark opinion that will impact Upstate Forever’s Clean Water Act pollution suit against Kinder Morgan for their 2014 spill of almost 400,000 gallons of diesel fuel in Anderson County.
- We joined Naturaland Trust and South Carolina Trout Unlimited to take legal action against the owners and operators of a Pickens County event venue over violations of the Clean Water Act and related property and environmental damage. We are represented by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), a nonprofit environmental law association.
- Our Land Conservation team has had much to celebrate, including the renewal of our accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance, the recent completion of five conservation projects totaling more than 600 acres protected, and a $3.9 million funding partnership from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Upstate Forever and Naturaland Trust, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville, have launched the Upstate Land Conservation Fund to accelerate the rate at which we can conserve our most important lands. Stay tuned for more information about this initiative to protect more land in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in making a lead gift to the fund, please contact Bob Morris, President of the Greenville Community Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Our Clean Water team has been awarded a grant from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a watershed-based plan for Lake Greenwood. This grant will allow our mapping experts to identify strategic opportunities to protect and improve water quality in the area around Lake Greenwood.
- Lastly, our Clean Water and Communications teams recently unveiled the latest issue of the Upstate Advocate, our twice yearly newsletter. The “Value of Water” issue explores threats facing our region’s water resources and how you can get involved in the fight to protect them. If you didn’t receive a copy, you can read it online. Click here if you’d like to be added to our mailing list.
I am so proud of what our team has accomplished in these unprecedented circumstances — and in pajamas, no less! If you are in a position to contribute to Upstate Forever at this time, your support will help our team continue this work to protect our region’s special places and unique character for future generations. And if you make a gift of at least $36 during the month of May, we will send you a limited edition Be the Upstate Nalgene water bottle or hand-printed tee to show our gratitude.
Lastly, if your inbox looks anything like mine, it has been filling up these past few weeks. We want to do our part not to contribute to your digital clutter, so we’ll be sharing the same conservation news and updates from here out on a bi-weekly basis instead of each Friday.
Take care and be well,
Andrea Cooper, Executive Director, Upstate Forever