Wateree River land protected from development per trust

Map of land being protected along the Wateree River
Map of land being protected along the Wateree River

More than a mile of riverfront property in Kershaw County will be protected from development under an agreement announced Monday by a Midlands-area land trust.

The 1,866-acre DDK Management/Hoagland tract is along the Wateree River about halfway between Camden and U.S. 378 in the southern part of the county, according to the Congaree Land Trust and the state Conservation Bank.

Filled with forested wetlands and hills rising up to 330 feet above sea level, the property provides habitat for a variety of animals, including bobcats, deer, ducks, wild turkeys, hawks and songbirds. A golden eagle, a rarity in South Carolina, has been spotted on the land and bald eagles live in the area, state records show. Spears Creek runs through the property.

The Congaree Land Trust acquired the easement with $746,000 in state funds approved by the Conservation Bank, according to documents provided by the bank Monday. Efforts to reach Ken Hoagland, listed in state records as the property owner, were unsuccessful Monday.

Conservation easements generally provide tax breaks or payments to people who agree not to develop land they will continue to own. Stuart White, director of the Congaree Land Trust, said the easement allows for three homes to be built on the land, but prevents other development.

Public access to the property won’t be allowed because it will remain in private ownership, records show.

But the easement is a significant tract because it adds to growing areas of protected land in the river corridor between Camden and Congaree National Park, said White and Marvin Davant, director of the state Conservation Bank.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to secure additional properties along the riverfront,’’ White said, noting that without the easement, the DDK land “certainly could be prone to development.’’

The property is one of three tracts the trust announced Monday that it has protected. Other tracts being protected are on nearly 500 acres of waterfowl habitat in Sumter County and Clarendon counties. Funding from the Conservation Bank also helped acquire that property.

The Congaree Land Trust, founded in 1992, focuses on establishing conservation easements for people in a 12-county area of central South Carolina. The Conservation Bank is a state agency that helps acquire easements or buys environmentally significant property for protection.