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NRCS and Audubon Dedication Ceremony


Mallard Lake in South Carolina.

Mallard Lake, located on the grounds of
the WRP site, is the location where
Chief Lancaster release the rehabilitated
Osprey back into the wild.

SC NRCS State Conservationist Walt Douglas speaks during the NRCS and Audubon dedication ceremony.
SC NRCS State Conser-
vationist Walt Douglas
discusses the crucial
role wetlands play in the
environment during the
dedication ceremony.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Arlen Lancaster and National Audubon Society Chief Operating Officer Robert Perciasepe visited South Carolina for a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) ceremony in Dorchester County.

The event took place at the Francis Beidler Forest, the world's largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest. The WRP easement will restore and permanently protect over 6,000 acres in the forest. The WRP plan calls for restoring natural hydrology to original pre-development conditions, before roads and forestry practices altered it. Located in Four Holes Swamp, the Forest is approximately 15,500 acres with more than 1,800 acres of ancient trees, some dating back 1,000 years.

SC NRCS State Conservationist Walter W. Douglas explained, “There are large high-fill roads associated with past forestry practices which altered the hydrology of this part of the swamp, more specifically, the Four Holes Swamp. The WRP restoration plan includes breaking the blockages to restore natural flow.” Norman L. Brunswig, Executive Director of Audubon South Carolina, remarked, “The WRP is enabling NRCS and Audubon to repair the only significant hydrologic defects in the main body of the Francis Beidler Forest. It is a great day for conservation in South Carolina.”

Chief Lancaster commented on the benefits that WRP offers. “The Wetlands Reserve Program is just one of many conservation programs Congress has authorized for use on private lands, but it is a critical one. The program offers eligible landowners an opportunity to address wetland, wildlife habitat, soil, water and related natural-resources concerns on their private lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner, through easements or cost-share agreements. ”