SC Ports pledges $5 million to preserve land along Cooper River

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The South Carolina Ports Authority announced on Monday a multi-million-dollar investment to preserve 30 acres of land near the Cooper River and deepen Charleston's harbor.

    "There is about 30,000 acres that need to be protected that are critical and very urgent," said Elizabeth Hagood, Executive Director of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust.

    Along the east branch of the Cooper River is where Hagood says there will be environmental impacts on the land due to the harbor deepening project.

    The project, which will increase the depth of the port's harbor from 42 feet to 52 will make it the largest port on the East Coast.

    "And that's really a game changer for the future," said Jim Newsome, President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. "I think it's important for the Southeast to have the deepest harbor on the East Coast because we are an exporting region."

    The partnership between the two is a two-way agreement. The conservation group publicly supports the harbor deepening project.

    "The most important thing is that these treasured landscapes that have defined us for years are going to be available for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, and also are the platform for future economic growth," said Hagood.

    The executive director says so far they have been able to preserve some 3,000 acres of the Cooper River Francis Marion Corridor.

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