South Lowcountry – ACE Basin (SoLoACE) Longleaf Partnership

Some Of The Gopher Tortoise Eggs Being Collected For The Head Starting Project Image 1 1

South Lowcountry – ACE Basin (SoLoACE) Longleaf Partnership Update

By Bobby Franklin and Lisa Lord, The Longleaf Alliance

The SoLoACE partnership has wrapped up another Longleaf Stewardship Fund grant that saw the partnership cost-share 450 acres of planting, 2,559 acres of prescribed burning, 350 acres of midstory release, the installation of 37 red-cockaded woodpecker boxes on private and state lands, and protection of 3,300 acres of bottomland hardwoods and longleaf along the Savannah River.  Our technical assistance and outreach efforts served more than 133 landowners in the project area.

Our gopher tortoise head-starting project with the Savannah River Ecology Lab continues with new eggs being collected for hatching and fostering to a larger size to be released.

The Partnership is excited to be permanently involved in protecting two key private properties along the Savannah River with conservation easements thanks to substantial contributions from the Savannah River Clean Water Fund through their water utility partners, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority and the City of Savannah.  The transactions were made possible through the leadership of The Nature Conservancy and Lowcountry Land Trust, and local and national funding partners, including the South Carolina Conservation Bank, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and The Longleaf Alliance.

The two properties, totaling 14,165 acres, known as Groton Plantation and Big Snooks, are the first conservation easements to receive funding from the Savannah Clean Water Fund, which supports the protection of the water quality and supply in the Lower Savannah River Basin from the Strom Thurmond Dam to the Savannah Harbor.  The river provides drinking water to more than 1.5 million people in two states.


Some of the gopher tortoise eggs being collected for the head-starting project.  Photo by Lisa Lord.