In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail. Our goals were to enhance recreational opportunities, connect communities to their hometown river, and protect clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
Thanks to a diverse and effective partnership with conservation organizations, cities and counties, chambers of commerce, local businesses and others we have made great progress in improving recreational opportunities and protecting the Waccamaw for future generations. These conservation successes include:
- (2009) The Pee Dee Land Trust securing its first conservation easement in Horry County, 92 acres near the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Waccamaw River Heritage Preserve.
- (2010) Georgetown County passing a Tree Ordinance that protects riverside trees, restricts redevelopment after timber harvesting, and uses natural systems instead of expensive man-made structures to filter and store stormwater, resulting in improved water quality, preserved wildlife habitat, and prevented soil erosion.
- (2010) The City of Conway passing an ordinance requiring a 25-foot buffer along the river as part of its Land Use Regulations.
- (2010) Protecting the 150-acre Floyd tract, critical wetland floodplain that is within the proposed major boundary expansion area for the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge and within the City of Conway, held by The Nature Conservancy.
- (2011) Securing $1.5 million from the Land & Water Conservation Fund to protect the 240-acre Long Tract, expanding the boundary of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge within the City of Conway.
- (2012) Securing a minor boundary expansion for the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge to protect the river and its landscapes and connect the City of Conway to the Blue Trail. The minor boundary expansion will pave the way for a major expansion in the coming years.
- (2013) Securing $2 million from the Land & Water Conservation Fund Landscape Collaborative grant to protect 3,725 acres through acquisition and conservation easements within the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.