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#06-295 October 30, 2006  

New state DNR biologists assist delivery of federal programs

Using a successful model employed in other Southeastern states, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service entered into an agreement to hire three wildlife biologists to assist in the development of conservation plans emphasizing enhancement and restoration of habitat for priority species in South Carolina’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.

The goal of the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy is to emphasize a cooperative, proactive approach to conservation while working with state and local governments, local businesses, and conservation-minded individuals to join in the effort of maintaining all of the wildlife resources of South Carolina. More than 50 high-priority species identified in South Carolina’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy are expected to benefit as a result of this project. More information on the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy can be found at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/index.html.

The federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) is landmark legislation that provides for unprecedented opportunity to assist farmers and rural landowners with meeting environmental challenges on their lands. The S.C Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and federal Natural Resources Conservation Service have a history of working together to provide technical and financial assistance to the landowners of South Carolina through Farm Bill programs. This past June, the two agencies united in an effort to increase capacity for the delivery of technical guidance to private landowners and agricultural producers. 

In June 2006, DNR hired three wildlife biologists who are headquartered in Natural Resources Conservation Service offices in Bamberg, Lee and Marion counties.
           
Cory Drennan is headquartered in the Bamberg Natural Resources Conservation Service office and covers a nine county (Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, and Orangeburg) area. Contact Cory at drennanc@dnr.sc.gov or (803) 245-4311.
           
Margaret (Meg) McElveen is headquartered in the Marion Natural Resources Conservation Service office and covers a seven county (Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg) area. Contact Meg at mcelveenm@dnr.sc.gov or (843) 423-0223.
           
Evan Myers is headquartered in the Bishopville Natural Resources Conservation Service office and covers a seven county (Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Kershaw, Lee, Richland, and Sumter) area. Contact Evan at myerse@dnr.sc.gov or (803) 484-5388.

Landowners in any of the counties listed above should contact the appropriate biologist for information on technical and financial assistance available through Farm Bill Programs.

“This project will result in greater levels of conservation and stewardship of priority wildlife species on South Carolina’s working agricultural lands,” said Judy Barnes, DNR small game biologist who also serves as the Farm Bill/agriculture liaison biologist for DNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “We are truly excited about the opportunity to work directly with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to deliver wildlife conservation practices to South Carolina’s landowners.”

For more information on Farm Bill programs and wildlife habitat enhancement practices, contact a local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or the DNR Small Game Project at (803) 734-3609.
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