The majority of Sandy Island will soon be officially owned by The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation will be transferring ownership of 9,000 acres of the island to the conservancy, fulfilling a promise it made almost 15 years ago.
The DOT purchased the land in December of 1996 as a wetland mitigation bank to allow highway projects in the coastal areas of the state, like SC 22 and SC 31, to begin construction.
DOT was able to purchase 9,000 of the 12,000 acres of the island for $10 million. The remaining 3,000 acres are the inhabited areas of island often called The Village.
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The conservancy contributed $1 million towards the purchase and agreed to manage the land at no cost to the state and the DOT agreed to transfer ownership of the property over to the conservancy when the mitigation credits had been exhausted.
The conservancy has been managing the island’s natural areas and wildlife ever since.
A ceremony will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. to commemorate the transfer of ownership of the natural areas on Sandy Island from the DOT to the Conservancy.
The event will be held at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center located at 21424 N. Fraser Street, Georgetown, SC.