Land Conservation Projects
Below are descriptions of the Katawba Valley Land Trust’s most recent conservation projects:
KVLT has banner year for land protection in 2017
The land trust has recently protected four properties through conservation easement agreements and received one fee-simple property conserving over 1,000 acres. A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement between a land trust and a landowner that protects the conservation values on the property in perpetuity.
In February, a conservation easement was donated to KVLT on a portion of the site of Battle of Hanging Rock in the American Revolution. The South Carolina Battleground Trust purchased the 112-acre site as part of a long-range plan to protect the battle site, which is in multiple ownerships. The battle site is south of Heath Springs in Lancaster County.
In June, the land trust received a conservation easement donation from the South Carolina Battleground Trust, in conjunction with the Civil War Trust, of a 47.5-acre parcel in the Buford area of eastern Lancaster County. The property includes part of the Buford Battlefield (also known as the Battle of the Waxhaws or Buford’s Massacre) west of Rocky River Road (SC 522). The land surrounds and protects an existing small county park which includes monuments and a cemetery. The battle was an important event in the Revolutionary War in the South Carolina upcountry.
In October 2017, KVLT received the donated of a tract of land on Flat Creek in eastern Lancaster County from Oceana Gold/Haile Gold Mine. The 367.9-acre tract has about 3 miles of frontage on the creek, which has one of the largest populations of Carolina Heelsplitter fresh water mussels. The property has extensive bottomland hardwood areas, along with planted pine trees on the uplands.
In December 2017, a conservation easement was donated to KVLT on 15.54 acres of the Craig Farm north of Lancaster. This easement, provided by the Craig Farm Historic Preservation Foundation, protects a historic farm and open space near the city.
Also in December 2017, KVLT received a conservation easement on a 525 acre parcel on upper Flat Creek in eastern Lancaster County. The Appel-Blackwell Tract is being preserved in conjunction with the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service to protect Carolina Heelsplitter habitat. It includes extensive creek frontage on Flat Creek and several tributaries as well as upland forested areas.
Mark Grier, KVLT President states, “KVLT is proud to be a part of protecting these properties that protect our historic and natural resources”. Dick Christie, KVLT Executive Director, said “outgoing director Barry Beasley should be commended for an outstanding year of accomplishments”.
Land Protection Efforts of 2016
In 2016, the land trust protected four properties through conservation easement agreements. Two of these easements protect farmland near Lowrys, South Carolina in Chester County. One parcel is a 50-acre tract and the other is a 57-acre tract. They are both owned by William C. Crosby and will be farmed by Mr. Crosby. These tracts are primarily open farm fields with approximately 40 acres of hardwood forests. They are located in the historic farming community of Lowrys and the easement will maintain these lands as farmland in perpetuity protecting South Carolina farming traditions and the rural character of this beautiful part of South Carolina.
This conservation project was a joint effort with the South Carolina Conservation Bank. The conservation bank provides funding to assist land trusts in purchasing conservation easements. The bank, established in 2002, provides funding to land trusts through a competitive application process to purchase conservation easement from willing sellers on properties with significant natural or cultural values. To receive funding, projects must be approved by the conservation bank board. This is the fifth KVLT conservation project to receive funding from the bank.
The third conservation easement, a 122.17 tract, protects a part of the Second Battle of Hanging Rock battlefield where a Revolutionary War battle was fought on August 6, 1780. The battle was part of a campaign led by South Carolina Militia Colonel Thomas Sumter to harass British outposts in the South Carolina backcountry. In the battle, Sumter, with 800 men defeated 1400 Loyalist troops under the command of Major John Carden. The area protected by the easement was the site of a British camp and was a core area of the battle. This important project was a partnership between KVLT, the South Carolina Battleground Trust, the Civil War Trust, the National Park Service and Lancaster County.
The fourth easement protects 50 acres of the Revolutionary War battlefield for the Battle of Waxhaws or Buford Massacre, which occurred on May 29, 1780. This battle was an engagement between Continental troops led by Colonel Abraham Buford and British troops and Loyalists commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Just as quickly as it had begun, the Battle of Waxhaws was over. British casualties were slight, with 5 killed and 14 wounded. The Americans lost 113 men killed and 203 wounded. Colonel Buford managed to escape from the slaughter. He reported what he saw on the battlefield to Patriot officials and the effect was electrifying. The Battle of Waxhaws became known as “Buford’s Massacre” and Tarleton, already known as an aggressive commander, was condemned as a butcher. This project is also a partnership between KVLT, the South Carolina Battleground Trust, the Civil War Trust, the National Park Service and Lancaster County.
KVLT Protects Property on Beaver Creek
The Katawba Valley Land Trust had one successful conservation project in 2015 protecting a 152-acre property on Beaver Creek in northern Kershaw County. The property was protected by a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement between a land trust and a landowner that protects the conservation values on the property in perpetuity.
The property is characterized by stands of planted pine, mixed hardwoods, wildlife openings and bottomland hardwoods. The property has significant elevation changes, rising sharply from the floodplain of Beaver Creek to hilltops that offer sweeping vistas of the Beaver Creek drainage south and the Stoneboro/Liberty Hill area to the northwest. Managed forest lands surround the property.
The property contains a mix of hardwoods and planted pines and is approximately 80% forested. The property has a variety of habitats that sustain both game and non-game species. The hardwood areas provide good habitat for both native and migratory songbirds and the pond/waterfowl impoundment on the property provides good habitat for waterfowl and wading bird species. Beaver, as well as traditional game and non-game species are found on the property. Two small creeks are dammed to form the pond on the property which, when leaving the property flows through a hardwood bottomland to Beaver Creek. The Beaver Creek floodplain contains a good stand of bottomland hardwoods.
This conservation project is a joint effort with the South Carolina Conservation Bank. The conservation bank provides funding to assist land trusts in purchasing conservation easements. The bank, established in 2002, provides funding to land trusts through a competitive application process to purchase conservation easement from willing sellers on properties with significant natural or cultural values. To receive funding, projects must be approved by the conservation bank board. This is the fourth KVLT conservation project to receive funding from the bank. The property is owned by Douglas B. Sheorn.
The Sheorn property contains significant conservation values which include water quality protection, wildlife habitat conservation and open space protection. Land Trust Executive Director Barry Beasley states “that protecting this property with a conservation easement will help protect the water quality and aquatic health of Beaver Creek and Lake Wateree. Protection will also maintain rural landscapes and forested lands as well as important South Carolina traditional land uses and traditions such as hunting.”
Katawba Valley Land Trust Receives Two Conservation Easements in 2014
The Katawba Valley Land Trust, located in Lancaster, South Carolina, received two conservation easements at the close of 2014 which protects a total of 380 acres. A 219-acre conservation easement was donated by the Stoneboro Plantation LLC in the Stoneboro area of southern Lancaster and northern Kershaw counties. This is the third easement donated to KVLT by the Stoneboro Plantation LLC, bringing the total protected acreage to 970 acres on this heavily wooded property which protects the headwaters of Little Beaver Creek.
This is a forested property consisting of stands of loblolly pines and mixed hardwoods in the floodplain and riparian areas along Little Beaver Creek. These pine forests are open with little understory growth due to the use of prescribed fire in the management of the property. The use of fire stimulates natural conditions and enhances the growth of native grasses and shrubs. Game animals such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey and mourning dove are abundant on the property. The property also provides important habitat for neotropical migratory birds, as well as many other species. Another characteristic of the property is the large outcrops of granite scattered throughout the property. These granite outcrops are significant from a geologic and scenic perspective and reflect the past significance of granite to this area and its stone quarries.
“Protecting this property through a conservation easement enhances wildlife habitat and protects water quality”, states Barry Beasley, executive director of the Katawba Valley Land Trust. Mark Grier, land trust president stated, “we are very appreciative of the commitment to conservation shown by the Burlingame and FitzHugh families. Their management of this property demonstrates their ongoing interest in land protection and their conservation ethic.” The Burlingames and FitzHughs added “we are most pleased to continue our work with the Katawba Valley Land Trust to promote conservation activities in our region to preserve in perpetuity the aspects which make this area so unique.”
The second land protection project is a conservation easement on 116 acres in Chester County. This parcel has frontage on Rocky Creek and has a diverse hardwood forest along the creek. The rest of the property is timberland. The conservation of this property protects traditional forestry practices, the rural character of Chester County and provides significant wildlife habitat. “The protection of this property provides good habitat for migratory neo-tropical song birds and helps protect the water quality of Rocky Creek,” said KVLT Executive Director, Barry Beasley.
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and the land trust which places certain restrictions on the future development of the property while protecting the conservation values in perpetuity. Land owners can also realize tax benefits for the value of the donated easement. The Katawba Valley Land Trust currently holds 33 conservation easements. With these two easements, the land trust has protected over 9000 acres.
The Katawba Valley Land Trust is a membership-based conservation organization that was founded by Lindsay Pettus in 1992. The land trust’s mission is to conserve significant natural and cultural resources in Lancaster County and the surrounding area.
The land trust also sponsors an annual speaker series that is open to the public and hosts hikes and outings throughout the year. For more information on the land trust visit the website at www.kvlt.org. or the KVLT Facebook page.
Executive Director / Katawba Valley Land Trust
Previous Land Conservation Projects:
Land Conservation Projects for 2011:
Land Conservation Projects for 2012:
Land Conservation Projects for 2013: