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

July 12, 2013

DNR acquires 754 acre Vaught Tract in Lewis Ocean Bay

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conjunction with the Environmental Banc & Exchange and other state and federal agencies has recently acquired the 754 acre Vaught Tract, which is entirely enveloped within the nearly 10,000 acre Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area in Horry County. The tract was donated to DNR as part of a unique mitigation banking agreement. The Waccamaw Mitigation Bank, also known as the Vaught Tract, recently was approved by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"This agency is committed to partnering with other state and federal agencies along with other non-governmental organizations," said DNR Agency Director Alvin Taylor. "The Vaught Tract/Waccamaw Mitigation Bank is a prime example of working together to enhance and preserve the natural resources of our state."

The transfer of the deed required final approval of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board says Rep.Carolina Bay Nelson Hardwick (R-Dist. 106), chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee, "Speaking on behalf of the entire Horry County legislative delegation, this is a win for the people of South Carolina and Horry County. Not only are we adding to the already significant Lewis Ocean Bay with additional acreage to be protected into perpetuity, but it also allows the sale of much needed mitigation credits to local developers."

Mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area which offsets expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems. The goal is to replace the exact function and value of the specific wetland habitats that would be adversely affected by a proposed project. Once approved by regulatory agencies the mitigation bank may sell credits to developers whose projects will impact these various ecosystems.

On the Vaught Tract you might spy animal tracks of deer, raccoon, fox, squirrel, quail and black bear, and, if you're lucky, catch a glimpse of these elusive animals. During your visit, you might be able to keep time to the rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat beat of a red- cockaded woodpecker, a federally threatened species, or pause to listen to the melodious harmonies of songbirds. Discover the beauty of rare, insectivorous Venus flytraps or pitcher-plants, native orchids, azaleas and other wildflowers that bloom in profusion in season. Another important feature are the Carolina Bays. The acreage of the Vaught Tract will be available for public hunting according to the same schedules that already exist for Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

Founded in 1997, Resource Environmental Solutions, specializes in the protection and restoration of rare, diminishing, and degraded ecosystems and resources, and is a leader in the nationwide practice of environmental banking and leading turn-key provider of ecosystem mitigation and restoration solutions.

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