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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

November 14, 2012

South Carolina Conservation Bank funds six new land grant applications

The South Carolina Conservation Bank had its biannual meeting Nov. 7 in Columbia. This is the second meeting that the state agency has had with its usual funding source of Documentary Stamp Fees since 2008.

The Conservation Bank at this meeting agreed to fund six new grant applications conserving 11,345 acres of significant lands in five counties across the state with an emphasis on the central Midlands for which there was previously limited grant activity at an average cost per acre to the state of $260 per acre with the remainder of its fiscal year funds. Additionally, the Bank Board agreed to fund an additional 5,953 acres in two counties with first available funds at a cost of $241 per acre and it also committed additional approval to fund seven other grants if, and when funding becomes available. These grants consisted mainly of large woodland/wetlands tracts, family farms, and an urban park.

This brings the total amount of lands conserved by the Bank statewide to 180,224 acres since the state agency was funded in 2004. 

Marvin Davant, Executive Director of the Bank said, "The addition of these properties is a very much appreciated opportunity for the Bank and the great landowners of our state who voluntarily want to protect their lands for future generations." Chairman Weston Adams stated, "It is certainly important to our economy and our tradition of having great natural resources. The Bank and its dedicated Board members appreciate the help and support of our General Assembly and the Governor’s Office in supporting the efforts of the Bank to keep South Carolina a special place.”

For Fiscal Year 2012-2013 the Legislature extended the Conservation Bank Act for five additional years and gave the Bank an opportunity to have its full funding restored for this year. The Bureau of Economic Advisors estimate of funding for the upcoming budget cycle is approximately $7.5 million. Additionally, the Bank received $2 million from last fiscal year (2011-2012) as a result of a budget proviso passed last year. The Bank used the $2 million to pay off its previously approved grant commitments. At its July 31, 2012 meeting the Board had previously adopted a spending plan for the $7.5 million of funds for the new fiscal year. The Bank Board decided to expend approximately 60% of those funds on proposals received since 2008, and further decided to hold 40% for the next Board meeting in November, 2012.

The next land application deadline is Jan. 31, 2013.

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