Results and Accomplishments
Preservation: Over 2,300 acres of native forestland, stream buffers, and other natural corridors have been placed under permanent conservation since the movement began 4 years ago. Some of these lands house the region's only endangered species: relict trillium. These areas are no longer threatened by development or recreational pressures and are now a safe place for the trillium population to replenish itself and hopefully flourish once again. Also included in these 2,300 acres are 272 acres along the Augusta Canal, Georgia's only Natural Heritage Site, hundreds of acres of old-growth bald cypress, silver magnolia, and giant poplars, an historic mill pond dating back to the mid 1800s, a working sustainably-harvested timber farm, and countless other gems.
Urban Preservation: Two major housing developments are undergoing, and one other has successfully completed a certification process through the Land Trust to be labeled as "Conservation Communities" - a new style of development that limits building construction and places nearly half of the neighborhood's land area under permanent conservation easement with qualified environmental institutions like the Land Trust, leaving these areas untouched and in their natural state forever (i.e. backyards and landscaped areas do not count!). These Communities are an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional tract-style suburban housing developments and can include homes in all price ranges.
Restoration: Over $46,000 in grant funds and countless volunteer hours and services have been committed to urban habitat restoration projects and environmental education programs for inner-city youth on publically-held conserved properties. Restoration projects include: restoring 30 acres of old-growth bald cypress forest along one of the regions premier black water creeks, reforesting a 4.1 acre tract of threatned urban flood plain, abating damage from past illegal dumping county-wide, and constructing walking trails and educational kiosks through preserved areas.
Legislation: The Georgia Land Conservation Partnership Advisory Panel, to which the Central Savannah River Land Trust's Executive Director was appointed to serve, made policy recommendations to Governor Sonny Purdue, who acted upon the Panel's recommendations and recently fast-tracked and passed the landmark Georgia Land Conservation Act, making $100 million in state and private funding available to Georgia counties for land conservation.
Education: Programs are in the works to bring children from all over the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) region to the various Greenspace and other conserved properties for educational purposes. Several pilot projects have been quite successful.
Future Successes: Plans to complete over 60 miles of foot and bike trails throughout the CSRA, mainly on conserved properties, are progressing favorably. Most of the main chunks of the trail right-of-way have been purchased, and many legs of the trail are already constructed and in operation. We expect to complete the entire project in the next few years.