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

May 8, 2014

South Carolina Working Group recognized with national award

The South Carolina Working Group of the South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative (SAMBI) was recently awarded the North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award for a Regional Partnership. The award honors dedication to the conservation of birds and critically important bird habitats.

Partners in South Carolina have exemplified how a diverse set of agencies and non-governmental organizations can establish mutual priorities and accomplish more working together than any of them could have achieved individually. Through the ACE Basin Focus Area Task Force and similar Task Forces focused on Winyah Bay and the South Lowcountry, Audubon South Carolina, Ducks Unlimited, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have worked together—and engaged many more partners—to protect the most critically-important landscapes for birds and other wildlife. Their collaboration has involved significant contributions by a host of different partners, including scores of private landowners, timber companies, foundations, local governments, and regional land trusts. These efforts were organized around the most important habitats identified in specific Focus Areas for bird conservation (including waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds, and landbirds), established by the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture through SAMBI. Since the beginning of SAMBI, partners have received $79 million in federal conservation grant awards, leveraging more than $365 million from some 450 partners, to conserve in excess of 378,000 acres of important habitat. Efforts within South Carolina have resulted in more than 200,000 acres (two-thirds of which is private land) of the 350,000-acre ACE Basin becoming permanently protected, along with 135,000 acres in the South Lowcountry (Savannah River) region, and 56,000 acres of coastal habitat around Winyah Bay. Other key landscapes protected include the Francis Beidler Forest, a 16,000-acre protected area recognized both as an International Important Bird Area and one of 23 Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in the US.

"It is extremely gratifying to see this diversity of partners all working together to achieve our conservation goals here in South Carolina", said DNR Director Alvin Taylor.

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