SC Conservation Bank Update
The South Carolina Conservation Bank was approved for full funding this year by the South Carolina General Assembly at a projected $15 million. The Conservation Bank is the only statewide source of funding available for willing landowners and their land trust partners to voluntarily conserve significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historic and archaeological sites in South Carolina. This is good news for conservation, and PDLT wishes to thank Senator Leatherman and others on the Budget Conference Committee who worked to support conservation funding as part of the state’s budget. The Bank is funded by a fraction of the S.C. documentary stamp tax (state deed recording fee). Of every $1.35 collected by the state, $0.25 is credited to the Conservation Bank Trust Fund. The Bank provides the opportunity to leverage private and federal investments for the public benefit.
Since its inception in 2002, awards from the Bank have helped support conservation of 245,128 acres across the Palmetto State, supporting quality of life benefits that attract major employers such as Boeing, Volvo, and BMW to the state. Recent projects include protecting green space surrounding the iconic Angel Oak on John’s Island in the Lowcountry, working farms and high quality natural areas in the Upstate and Pee Dee Region, and protection of invaluable waterfowl habitats and public hunting areas in the Midlands. One of PDLT’s recent projects, protection of the 93-acre Back Swamp School Woods, was the first Conservation Bank-funded project in Florence County.
The Conservation Bank will expire in July 2018 if not reauthorized. In the 2016 legislative session, PDLT will be working with our partners across the state and our supporters in the Pee Dee to ensure strong support for a bill to keep the Conservation Bank in operation in service to the state well beyond 2018.
Pictured Above: SC Conservation Bank Director Marvin Davant, Senator Leatherman, Alva Whitehead, and PDLT Board Chair Buddy Brandy at a ceremony recognizing the protection of the Back Swamp School Woods