MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) — The nation celebrated Earth Day on Monday. It was a time to reflect on environmental concerns facing the planet. There’s certainly a lot to love about the Lowcountry and a lot to protect.
Between banning single-use plastic bags and off-shore drilling, there’s a lot of environmental efforts in the Charleston-area, but growth and development is making land conservation harder and harder.
“Property values are increasing so much it’s really hard to set aside those lands that are going to be left undeveloped because there’s a lot of value in them,” said Catherine Main, executive director of the East Cooper Land Trust. “Trying to work with landowners to try and purchase land easements is sometimes the best technique to save that land. That’s why programs like the Charleston County Greenbelt Program are so wonderful.”
The non-profit organization is devoted to preserving land to benefit people and the environment. Currently, Main is focused on protecting shrimp docks, land vital to maintaining the availability and access to locally caught seafood.
Main said there’s nothing wrong with development, but there needs to be a balance. She pointed to the few farmlands left in Mount Pleasant as a sign there must be some kind of intervention. She said the owner of Boone Hall Plantation has agreed to a land easement.
“I’m really excited about the Boone Hall opportunity. It is just a phenomenal piece of land,” she said. “I think that is going to be a huge benefit, not only to the Mount Pleasant residents but also to residents in Charleston County.
For Earth Day, Main organized a conservation cruise for the Mayors Council on Land Conservation, which East Cooper Land Trust formed in 2015. The group toured Conch Creek, an island surrounded by 400 acres of pristine salt marsh by the Ben Sawyer Causeway.
“When you look at Isle of Palms, we’re pretty much built out,” said Jimmy Carroll, Mayor of the Isle of Palms. “The last thing you want to see is these little hammocks, hammocks are the little islands, the last thing you want to do is see those developed.”
Carroll joined a small group for the conservation cruise. He said he’s proud of the many efforts to preserve Charleston and said there’s a lot of cooperation between municipalities.
“What really united a lot of us was the offshore drilling,” Carroll said. “Tim Goodwin on Folly Beach, Pat O’Neal on Sullivan’s Island and Will Haynie of Mount Pleasant, we’ve all come together, we talk a lot, we meet a lot, we’re getting ready to meet on Folly Beach again.”
The Charleston County Greenbelt Program plays a major role in land protections. Since its inception in 2004, it’s protected about 30 percent of the lands in Charleston County.
https://eastcooperland.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/abc_image.png281540ECLT/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ECLT-logo.pngECLT2019-04-22 13:23:222019-04-23 13:28:39Land conservation priority on Earth Day, as urban sprawl grows in Lowcountry
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East Cooper Land Trust is a community-supported organization devoted to conserving land to benefit people and the environment both now and forever.