HORRY COUNTY, S.C., July 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Charleston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved the Carter Stilley Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bank which will be the largest mitigation bank serving Horry and Georgetown counties and the first bank in South Carolina to offer coastal stream credits.
Mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area which offsets expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems. The goal is to replace the exact function and value of the specific wetland habitats that would be adversely affected by a proposed project. Once approved by regulatory agencies the mitigation bank may sell credits to developers whose projects will impact these various ecosystems. The 1,304-acre Carter Stilley Mitigation Bank will include 704 acres and 6,810 feet of restored, enhanced, and preserved wetlands and streams.
"The Corps of Engineers believes that mitigation banking is a great solution to offset unavoidable adverse impacts to waters of the United States. The proposed mitigation bank is expected to maintain and improve aquatic resources on the site and within the surrounding watershed," said Lt. Col. John Litz, District Commander, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District.
Credits from the bank will be available for purchase by government agencies and private developers in the bank's service areas to offset unavoidable impacts of roads, bridges and other construction projects in the upper coastal region of South Carolina.
The bank will be managed by American Timberlands Company, a land investment management, land brokerage, and land services firm headquartered in Pawleys Island. CEO of American Timberlands, Tom Rowland, said, "This bank is a perfect example of an ATC land investment with unique attributes capable of providing returns in excess of a traditional land investment without increasing risk. We are excited about the public/private sector collaboration on the Carter Stilley Mitigation Bank that will allow our company to leave a legacy of delivering attractive returns to our investors while simultaneously being good stewards of land for future generations."
Tidewater Environmental Services, a natural resources consulting firm based in Charleston provided environmental consulting during the permitting process and has been engaged to assist in construction design and long-term monitoring of the bank. "This project has been a truly collaborative effort between Tidewater and American Timberlands. Our ability to deliver a mitigation plan that will successfully enhance and restore wetlands and streams along the floodplain of the Waccamaw River is due to countless hours spent evaluating the site and coordinating with agency experts. This project is a prime example of how sound restoration occurs through a collaborative approach," said Ross Nelson, Tidewater's Principal and Senior Project Manager.
In addition to providing mitigation for the future development of the region, American Timberlands ensured further public benefit from the bank by donating 1,304 acres to DNR for dedication into the Waccamaw River Heritage Preserve. Located along the Waccamaw River, the Heritage Preserve is a publicly accessible tract that protects a relatively unbroken riverine bottomland hardwood ecosystem containing rare plant species and providing critical fish and wildlife habitat.
The bank will be protected in perpetuity by DNR. "DNR is committed to partnering with the private sector, other state and federal agencies, and non-government organizations," said DNR Agency Director Alvin Taylor. "I am excited because the Carter Stilley Mitigation Bank is another example of working together to enhance and preserve the natural resources of our state and make more lands available for public recreation."
The transfer of the deed required final approval of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board. Says Rep. Nelson Hardwick (R-Dist. 106), chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee: "Speaking as Chairman of the Horry County Legislative Delegation and on their behalf, this is a win for the people of South Carolina and Horry County. We are adding to the inventory of public lands for our people and facilitating the sale of much needed mitigation credits to local developers."
For additional information about the Bank including credit purchase inquiries, please visit www.carterstilleywetlandsmitigationbank.com.
About American Timberlands Company
ATC is a land investment management, land brokerage, and land services firm founded to originate and manage land investments with diverse value attributes. ATC was founded in 2004 by its three partners combining their extensive experience in forestry, land brokerage, land management, corporate finance, and investment banking. ATC's current assets under management total over 65,000 acres and $200 million in asset value. The firm's clients, partners, and investors recognize that with the right management expertise, low risk land investments can yield higher returns than ordinary timberland investments. For additional information, please visit www.americantimberlands.com.
About Tidewater Environmental
Tidewater is a natural resources consulting firm that specializes in environmental regulation compliance and natural resources restoration. Tidewater was founded in 2004 in Charleston, SC by three partners with over fifty years of combined experience. Tidewater has grown into a regional firm that currently provides services throughout the Southeast through additional offices that have been established in Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, SC. The firm provides services to both public and private sector clients, including land owners and developers, the Department of Defense, state Departments of Transportation, and various local and state government agencies. Tidewater believes that being responsive to client needs and providing the most experienced and highest quality consulting services are the keys to the company's success. For additional information, please visit www.tidewaterenvironmental.com.
SOURCE American Timberlands Company