New conservation easement conserves 1,000+ acres in Sumter County

19-acre pond on Dixie Plantation

WEDGEFIELD, SC—Over 1,000 acres of forested land have been protected in Sumter County thanks to the efforts of Dixie Plantation Limited Partnership, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Congaree Land Trust (CLT).

Situated in the COWASEE basin, Dixie Plantation is a property with historical, geological, and natural conservation values. Now under a conservation easement, this historical property will be protected in perpetuity. This is the second conservation easement with Dixie Plantation LP, adding to a previously protected tract.

“This has been a project to put lands back together that were fragmented over the last 150 years or so,” landowner James Hugh Ryan says of his family’s land, which he has been working to protect for future generations.

Dixie Plantation is characterized by rolling hills, forests, wetlands, open land, and a 19-acre pond. The property is an important private land conservation expansion of the COWASEE Basin: a landscape scale project targeted at protecting the green heart of South Carolina’s midlands with help from federal, state, and nongovernmental conservation organizations. Currently, over 143,000+ acres have been protected in the COWASEE Basin (315,000 acres in the core) along the Wateree, Santee, and Congaree Rivers.

The site of a whistle-stop village along a rail line, Dixie Plantation sits along what was once The Great Road, an ancient pathway used by Native Americans, troops in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and the site of many antebellum estates and plantations.

An area of geographic importance, the property is located in The High Hills of Santee, a unique topographic area in Sumter County with varied elevations and bottomland forests resembling the Foothills and Piedmont regions in the upstate. Essentially, Dixie Plantation has a hilly, almost mountainous terrain in a coastal setting, giving it unique conservation values.

Home to a number of tree species, including Loblolly pine and many Hardwoods, Dixie Plantation provides habitats to hundreds of species of wildlife, including 34 species of birds of conservation importance. A working property, the private lands of Dixie Plantation will continue to be utilized for agricultural and timber purposes.

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About Congaree Land Trust: The Congaree Land Trust (CLT) was founded in 1992 by seven individuals committed to conserving the natural and scenic lands in central South Carolina. Since CLT’s inception, they have conserved over 75,000 acres, representing 162 individual conservation easements in 13 counties. Conservation easements help protect the natural areas that fuel our state’s natural resource-based economy and define our way of life. Learn more: www.congareelt.org or contact Melissa Drake at melissa@congareelt.org