Our mission is to protect the water supply for communities and businesses along the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina through forest conservation by helping landowners protect and better manage their forests.
The SRCWF is a ground-breaking national model for how water utilities and industry from two states can work cooperatively with landowners and the forestry and conservation sectors to protect water resources.
The Savannah River Clean Water Fund makes science-based investments in the protection and management of land to protect the water quality of the Savannah River for generations to come. We are a bi-state effort of South Carolina and Georgia stakeholders working from the Strom Thurmond Dam to the Savannah Harbor. We are the only organization with a watershed-wide focus on forest conservation to benefit water quality.
Retaining forested watersheds is critical to water supply. The goal of the Savannah River Clean Water Fund is to retain 60% of the forest cover in the watershed. About 500,000 are already secure, but 1.2 million acres still need protection, with approximately 200,000 of those acres being the most critical to protect for water quality.
Groton Plantation and Big Snooks, totaling 14,165 acres, are the first conservation easements to receive funding through the Savannah River Clean Water Fund. Groton Plantation and Big Snooks were protection priorities because of their value for water quality and flow in the Savannah River. The landowners were willing participants in the conservation easements and the land will remain in their ownership. The conservation easements ensure that the forests and natural habitats on the properties are never converted to uses that will detract from water quality. Healthy forests filter pollutants that might otherwise enter the Savannah River.
At almost 14,000 acres, Groton Plantation is the largest private conservation easement in South Carolina. The largely forested tract buffers the already protected floodplain forest for 10 miles along the Savannah River. The upland pine forest, which contains mature longleaf pine, has some of the highest quality wildlife habitat in the state. These forests will continue to be managed to benefit wildlife and support the rural timber economy.
The 297-acre Big Snooks tract has mature bottomland hardwood forests, a natural oxbow lake, and longleaf pine, habitat ideal for the state endangered gopher tortoise. The property is positioned between two parcels of publicly owned protected land, further enhancing its environmental benefits.
Recently, the Savannah River Clean Water Fund, and its utility partners, Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority and the City of Savannah, assisted the Lowcountry Land Trust with acquiring an important wetland forest tract that will protect drinking water quality in the lower Savannah River watershed. Meyer Lake protects 3.5 miles of river frontage, and until its recent acquisition, was the southernmost unprotected Savannah River floodplain bottomland hardwood wetland system on the South Carolina side of the river. The property’s forests and wetlands provide critical habitat and flood control, and they protect water quality and drinking water supplies in the Savannah River watershed.
Prioritizing valuable and limited resources is important to the success of the Savannah River Clean Water Fund. Click here to view the Savannah River Clean Water Fund’s online priority conservation map.
Priority Mapping Tool coming soon.