Coastal wetlands projects receive $5 million in grants.

Coastal wetlands in five S.C. counties will receive federal grants totaling $5 million awarded to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the S.C. Conservation Bank.

Wetlands protection projects in Williamsburg, Jasper, Charleston, Georgetown and Horry counties each received the maximum of $1 million in National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"These grants will have wide-reaching benefits for local South Carolina economies, people and wildlife," J. Raleigh West III, executive director of the S.C. Conservation Bank, said in a news release. "They will strengthen partnerships with numerous public, nonprofit and private stakeholders while directly conserving and restoring vital coastal habitat and inland wetlands."

The grants will help protect the following properties:

841 acres of coastal habitats along the Black River in Williamsburg County that will be acquired by Open Space Institute with help from the Conservation Bank. This tract harbors species such as the state-endangered swallow-tailed kite and federally threatened wood stork.

974 acres in the Lower Savannah River watershed of Jasper County, which SCDNR is planning to acquire with support from conservation partners Lowcountry Land Trust and the Savannah River Clean Water Fund. This forested tract protects 3.5 miles of river frontage while its floodplain forests provide habitat and flood control. It also supports clean drinking water supplies for citizens in the region.

194 acres on the Ashley Scenic River in Charleston County, which will be acquired by the Open Space Institute and transferred to the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust. The property has nearly a mile of Ashley River frontage on the Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway.

1,964 acres along the Santee River in Georgetown...

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