S.C. conference in Charleston this week brings conservation initiatives to light

VIDEO: S.C. conference in Charleston this week brings conservation initiatives to light

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - 26 new people are moving to Charleston every day according to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, which means more people to create a greater impact on the state’s natural resources.

On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, United States Department of Agriculture, county conservation leaders, and non-profits are all meeting to present new ways the state can preserve natural resources for the community.

The 79th Annual South Carolina Conservation Partnership Conference kicks off today in Charleston. Five conservation representatives from each county will be in attendance to talk about current issues across the state.

Some of these topics will be water and soil sustainability, erosion, flooding, and sufficiently using natural resources.

The main goal of this conference is for different state entities to present the initiatives they are currently working on and to announce the launch of new programs.

“For example, the guys in Columbia, versus the guys up in say, Newberry, they’re doing everything differently. So that’s what I think we all get out of this together is how we can learn from each other and how we can protect this state in different ways. And every year we learn something new in a good way,” John Smoak, Vice-Chairman of the Charleston Saltwater District, said.

SCDNR wants to raise public awareness about its efforts to clean up the waterways in Charleston and decrease erosion.

They have recently implemented an oyster shell recycling program to help restore, preserve, and enhance the state's inshore marine habitat.

DNR says it will now be using federal money to help with this project.

They are asking the Lowcountry community to help out by recycling their oyster shells for marine planting purposes and to sustain marine habitats. You can do so by filling up bags of oyster shells and bringing them to DNR.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is implementing a statewide mobile irrigation lab project to analyze the efficiency and deficiency of agriculture land around the state.

SCDNR wants to use these mobile irrigation labs to combat drought while also identifying people’s water and energy usage.

They hope this will let the public know how much money they are spending on water and energy and will identify areas they can save. The irrigation units will also have new systems that will limit how often land can be treated.

The program will be free for all agriculture producers.

At this year’s conference, the DNR is asking for more counties to get involved in these studies, as they hope to make it a state-wide initiative. They will be pushing to get Charleston farms involved and are currently taking applications for the program, which will be a three-year study.

“It’s just letting the public know that we all play a part in it. So, everybody’s just trying to do their part and DNR is really pushing hard to let the public be aware that they too can be involved,” Smoak said.

The three-day conference has been held in Columbia for the past decade, but officials decided to bring it Charleston this year because so many of the state's natural resource issues involve the coastal waterways.

For info on how you can help with DNR projects or learn more about what the state is doing for conservation, visit here.

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