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Regional conservation organization Upstate Forever announces the recent protection of two properties in Abbeville County totaling 664 acres. Grants from the South Carolina Conservation Bank (SCCB) made possible the conservation projects that will contribute to the protection of forest, wildlife habitat, and water quality in the area.
Morrow Creek Timbers is a nearly 430-acre property comprising hardwood forests, 30 acres of wetlands, and a 6-acre pond. MROS Preserve is approximately 239 acres of pine and hardwood forest and frontage on Gill Creek, a tributary of the Savannah River.
These two properties are directly adjacent to each other and near to a third property previously placed under a conservation easement with Upstate Forever. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Upper Savannah Land Trust also protect properties in the area, combining efforts to make significant strides to protect water quality while ensuring future production of working lands.
“Together, these protected lands have a tremendous potential to influence the water quality of the Savannah River, the sole source of drinking water for the county, as well as critical natural resources and wildlife habitat,” said Scott Park, Glenn Hilliard Director of Land Conservation for Upstate Forever.
“Morrow Creek Timbers and MROS Preserve are both part of a growing corridor of protected properties that contribute to the water quality of the Savannah River,” added Raleigh West, executive director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “Land protection along the waterways of our state delivers public benefits far beyond property boundaries.”
Both Morrow Creek Timbers and MROS Preserve include prime soils (having physical and chemical characteristics as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture). They are also home to a spectacular array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, grey and red fox, bobcats, black bear, and quail.
Upstate Forever protects land in partnership with landowners through conservation easements, voluntary contracts that allow the landowner to legally restrict certain land uses from occurring on their property, such as the development of residential subdivisions, commercial or industrial operations, while allowing traditional rural land uses, such as farming, grazing, hunting, and timbering to continue. This agreement is permanent and remains with the land even after it has been sold or willed to heirs.
When asked why he chose to protect MROS Preserve through a conservation easement, landowner Deaver McCraw stated, “It’s important to preserve land for future generations to be able to enjoy.”
Since its inception in 1998 by founder Brad Wyche, Upstate Forever’s nationally accredited land trust has permanently protected nearly 28,000 acres through voluntary conservation easements in partnership with landowners and other conservation organizations across the ten Upstate South Carolina counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union.