By Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
On May 18, legislation to reauthorize the South Carolina Conservation Bank was signed into law by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. House Bill 4727 would enable the Conservation Bank to continue its duties and functions for collaborative conservation efforts in South Carolina, this time without a sunset limitation.
In addition to permanently reauthorizing the Conservation Bank, H.B. 4727 expands the Conservation Bank board, coordinates all state required mitigation, develops conservation criteria and a conservation prioritization map to be approved by the General Assembly, and ensures increased public access.
Established in 2002, the South Carolina Conservation Bank mission is “to improve the quality of life in South Carolina through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, and urban parks.” The Conservation Bank identifies real estate interests from agreeable sellers and encourages critical cooperation and partnerships among landowners, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profit organizations to work together to maximize conservation and improve the quality of life in South Carolina. The initial enabling legislation stipulated that the Bank’s existence would sunset July 1, 2018, unless otherwise renewed.
National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Vice-President and bill sponsor Representative Brian White commended the process that enabled stakeholders to come to consensus on the Conservation Bank.
“I’m proud that the conservation community was able to come together to permanently reauthorize the Conservation Bank. The changes made will ensure access remains a priority and that South Carolinians can continue to enjoy these critically important areas.”
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?