Cooper River Basin

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The Cooper River flows from the Santee Cooper Lakes in Berkeley County into the Charleston Harbor. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was one of the most productive rice growing regions in the country. Through a series of historical coincidences, a great many of these historic rice fields remain intact today. While rice is no longer widely grown, these former plantations provide rich waterfowl habitat and extensive upland forests that are particularly valuable for longleaf pine ecosystems. Downstream of the river dam that creates Lake Moultrie, these properties form a critical conservation corridor between urban Charleston and the Francis Marion National Forest. As home to many populations of threatened and endangered species, such as the red cockaded woodpecker, it is important that these forestlands and wetlands continue to be maintained in a relatively natural state and managed for wildlife, agriculture and forestry.

The Cooper River Basin has been the primary focus of the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust’s preservation work over its twenty-year history and the great bulk of the land preserved by it is located there. These extensive protected areas include key buffers around the Nucor and Dupont industrial sites, as well as major private holdings such as South Mulberry and Wappaoolah Plantations. Working in close cooperation with our other conservation partners, we continue to close gaps in the protection of this critical landscape.

Counties: Berkeley, Charleston