SCNPS Looks into the Pipeline Project Approval Process

In December the SCNPS sent a letter to the South Carolina Public Service Commission with our comments pertaining to their proposed changes to the approval process for future gas pipeline projects. The current regulations do not provide sufficient transparency to enable interested organizations like SCNPS, Upstate Forever, and others to either fully assess the impacts or provide timely comments. Read the letter and stay tuned for more news as it develops.

With Gratitude: Virginia Meador

By Judy Seeley

Virginia Meador

The Upstate Chapter Offers Its Thanks

For the past four years, Virginia Meador has served as the Upstate Chapter President. Generally, terms of office run for two years, but in November 2020 Virginia volunteered to stay on for a second “Covid” term. During that time, she worked with the Board of Directors as they made the myriad difficult decisions canceling in-person activities, including general meetings, plant sales, and field trips. During her tenure and through her leadership we learned to hold meetings by Zoom; plant sales via online ordering; and field trips through camaraderie-by-newsletter. 

Post-Covid, one of her last official acts as President was signing the contract between the Upstate Chapter and the Conestee Foundation leasing land in the Conestee Nature Preserve as a new site for the Upstate Native Nursery.

Virginia’s commitment to the SCNPS and its mission has been deep and long. Before becoming President, she served as both Field Trips Chair and Board Vice-President; she continues to serve on the Board as Past President. And she loves to lead native plant walks and to share her knowledge of the natural world through “hands-on” teaching.

Virginia’s signature opening at meetings was, “Welcome to the Upstate Chapter, where we work to save the world, one native plant at a time.” As we offer her our thanks for her many years of dedication and service, we’d also like to add: Yes, Virginia, we (with your help) will continue to work to save the world!

SCNPS Looks at COP15 and 30x30x30

Article by Doug Lockard 

In December 2022 the United Nations sponsored a biodiversity conference in Montreal; 190 nations agreed that protecting biodiversity has to be a priority. This is a HUGE win for the global movement to protect, preserve and restore biodiversity. Many of the concerns set forth in what is being called the 30x30x30 agreement align closely to those of the SCNPS, such as destruction of habitats and invasive alien species.

For those of you with a life, I’ll attempt to boil it all down! 

Just what is COP15?

COP15 is shorthand for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This is a separate initiative from COP27 which focuses on climate change, but there are some overlaps.

What have the Parties agreed to?

The 190 nations agreed to a treaty that sets as a goal meeting the terms of the Kunming Declaration, which calls for each nation to forever preserve 30% of their land and 30% of their water resources by 2030 (thus the 30x30x30 handle). That may seem like a lot, and it is; it’s an important step. (In his final book, Half Earth, Nobel prize-winning biologist E.O.Wilson proposed that the only way to save our own species was to set aside half the earth as protected ecosystems not later than 2100.)

Per Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature: “The ‘30x30x30’ target marks the largest land and ocean conservation commitment in history. It will have major positive impacts for wildlife, for addressing climate change, and for securing the services that nature provides to people, including clean water and crop pollination.”


“The biosphere and the 10 million species that compose it can no longer be treated as a commodity, but as something vastly more important—a mysterious entity still beyond the boundaries of our imagination yet vital to long-term human existence.” E.O.Wilson


Is the USA one of the Parties?

In the 1980s it was the United States who championed the idea of a Biodiversity Treaty, and the US was also influential in getting the effort off the ground in the early 1990s. However, in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit the US was not one of the 150 nations who signed up for the world’s most important international agreement to conserve biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity (sometimes referred to as “The Treaty of Life”). That treaty is designed to protect species, ecosystems, and genetic diversity, and to push countries to create national biodiversity strategies and to expand their networks of protected areas.

The problem is that treaties like this one require a two-thirds Senate majority, and some of our Senators argue that CBD (or almost any treaty) would infringe on American sovereignty, put commercial interests at risk, impose constraints on US Constitutional independence, create redistributionist schemes, and/or impose a financial burden. 


CAUSES OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS

    • Climate change.
    • Pollution.
    • Destruction of habitats.
    • Invasive alien species.
    • Overexploitation of the natural environment.

That may be the case, but the world doesn’t belong to just us. So, in 2021, the Biden administration launched the America the Beautiful Initiative, which does target the 30x30x30 goals. That’s good news, but it now begs the question:

What Can I Do?

Dillon County Welcome Center Fence Garden

Unsurprisingly, native plants are at the core of healthy biodiversity, and you don’t have to look any further than your own yard for opportunities to contribute to global 30x30x30 goal. 

Douglas Tallamy has the right idea with the Home-Grown National Park. Check them out and Get on the Map!

If you need a little help getting started, there are numerous organizations sponsoring programs for restoring your yard to a healthier habitat for all, like the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat, SC Wildlife Federation’s Gardening for Wildlife and their Carolina Fence Gardens, Clemson’s Carolina Yards, and Audubon’s Bird Friendly Backyards.

Be aware, vote your conscience, and plant native plants! The SCNPS is here to help. Reach out to us!

Additional Information and Resources Links in this Article:

Paris Mountain’s Shiloh Ridge Preserved Forever

By Doug Lockard 04Nov22

Shiloh Ridge Map

By a vote of 9-3, Greenville County Council (GCC) members voted to approve a $400,000 allocation of funds by the Greenville County Historic and Natural Resource Trust (GCHNRT) providing the final piece of a momentous expansion of Paris Mountain State Park in the heart of the Upstate.  This public-private partnership enables the incorporation of the 146-acre Shiloh Ridge as part of a combined 270 acre and $2.3 million park expansion–almost the entire western side of Paris Mountain—into the park.  Park officials indicate the park is already seeing almost a half-million visitors a year and this new addition will eventually incorporate as many as 17 new trails.

The SC Native Plant Society (SCNPS) is particularly pleased with this addition for several reasons.  First, the preservation of such a large swath of habitat in the midst of such rapidly urban growth area will prove to be a tremendous bulwark for native plant diversity and beneficial wildlife as well as an anchor for wildlife corridors essential to species survival.  Secondly, opening up the additional native plant communities on the western side of the mountain will enable our growing community to experience an even greater diversity of native plant habitats.

The SCNPS would like to extend our gratitude to both the public and private partners that made this possible.  The private Naturaland Trust contributed 120 acres to the project, and the Greenville Community Foundation provided non-governmental participation.

The public S.C. Conservation Bank, our S.C. State Parks and the National Parks Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund each provided significant funding and support for the $2.35 million park expansion.

Photo by Mac Stone, Naturaland Trust

Thank you–all of you–for the courage, vision and perseverance in this singular act of conservation which will benefit our Upstate communities for generations to come.

 

 

All of these people coming together and finding a way to achieve the seeming impossible for a better tomorrow.  Right here, today, in the Upstate.  That’s what we’re talking about.

 

 

SALUDA RIVER BASIN PLANNING

The SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will provide a public overview of a new water planning framework that will guide surface water management in the Saluda River basin over the next 50 years.  Volunteers interested in serving on a council to develop and implement the plan are being sought.

The Upstate meeting will be held on Thursday Nov 3rd Greenville at Roper Mountain Science Center from 6-8 p.m.

The initiative’s goal is ensuring that future generations of South Carolinians have secure, well-managed supplies of our most critical natural resource—water.

Streambank Stabilization Workshop

Join this important workshop to learn more about streambank stabilization techniques and the importance of native plants to protect, preserve and restore your riparian buffers.  The workshop will include indoor presentations in the morning, a lunch and a field trip in the afternoon.

What:  STREAMBANK STABILIZATION WORKSHOP

WHEN:  Thursday Nov 10th, 9:30am-2:30pm

WHERE:  Pleasant Ridge Retreat Center, 4232 SC Hwy 11, Marietta, SC 29661

FEATURED SPEAKER:

  • Karen Jackson; Water Resources Scientist with Wood Environmental and Scientific Infrastructure Solutions (WSP), Columbia
  • Rick Huffman will be guest speaker at the luncheon

COST/RSVP:  Cost is $15pp and space is limited.  RSVP with Karen at [email protected] or 803-798-1200

An Upstate Partnership:  SCNPS, DHEC, Clemson Extension, Greenville County, Save Our Saluda

November Upstate Monthly Meeting – Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive

Korrin Bishop

Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive

Nature-writer and editor Korrin Bishop will be presenting, “Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive”.  Korrin Bishop works with passions for both mission-driven work and the great outdoors. Her writing is heavily influenced by a sense of place, as over time she has found home amongst California’s redwoods, Washington, D.C. ‘s cherry blossoms, Oregon’s caves, South Dakota’s badlands, Florida’s Everglades, and Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. Korrin was a 2020 writer-in-residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville. She is currently working on hiking every trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and earning her certification as a Tennessee Naturalist. She has written for Misadventures Magazine, Sierra MagazineSmokies Life, and Fodor’s Travel, among others.

During her presentation, you will learn about iNaturalist.  iNaturalist is a citizen science app that goes beyond the basic identification of plants, animals, fungi, and other species. In this talk, writer and avid iNaturalist user Korrin Bishop will cover the app’s wide range of uses through the lens of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

Click here to get to the event and Zoom link.

October Upstate Monthly Meeting – Black River State Park and Water Trails Master Plan and Land Use

Our speaker for October’s program will be Rick Huffman, principal and founder of Earth Design Inc. with over 30 years of experience in landscape design, horticulture, bioengineering, and ecology. He has particular expertise in native plants as they occur in natural models. As founder and past-president of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, he has brought awareness of these natural models to the public through presentations and workshops on a statewide and regional level.

The Black River is a 150-mile-long Black water river with head waters in Camden and empties into Winyah and Georgetown South Carolina. After nearly 20 years of stalled planning, the steering committee embarked upon a report and getting a Master Plan River Trails plan done for a 70-mile reach from Kingstree in Williamsburg to Rocky Point in Georgetown County. The 70-mile river corridor presents a wilderness experience where time and place tell the story of people and culture that make the Black River unique. The new Park will be the first in South Carolina in nearly twenty years.

Earth Design was hired as the Landscape Architecture consultants to study the corridor, conduct community engagement, locate new river access, design a series of state parks, river trails, recreations opportunities including off river camping, picnic, and fishing platforms. The team consisted of Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers, and Community specialist.

Mr. Huffman will show how the design and community engagement process worked with surveys, public meetings, and local leaders. The program will detail how river landforms, land use and soils dictate decisions on access, Long Leaf Pine restoration, and user experience. Mr. Huffman will show detail designs and renderings of 4 tracts where outfitters, state park amenities, nature-based camping, and fishing will be located. Beyond a doubt a true wilderness experience to be discovered on the Black River.

Make sure to mark your calendars, or download the calendar invitation from our events site, here.

Please join us at 6:30 for social time and the program will begin at 7PM.

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Call for Nominations – Election of State Officers

The SC Native Plant Society 2022 Nominating Committee (Katie Ellis, Virginia Meador, Laura Lee Rose, and Mitzi Stewart) is seeking candidates for a full slate of state officer positions (see the document below for position descriptions):

  • State President
  • State Vice-President
  • State Secretary
  • State Treasurer

Election of state officers will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting scheduled for October 29, 2022.  Newly elected officers will serve two-year terms beginning January 1, 2023, but can be re-elected for additional terms.

Potential candidates must be SCNPS members in good standing and encouraged to have leadership and/or officer experience at the regional chapter level.  Should you be interested in serving as a SCNPS state officer or know someone you would like to nominate to serve, please contact Katie Ellie ([email protected]) no later than close of business, Friday, September 9, 2022.

2022_StateBoard_Nominations