Today’s post was written by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
This week, President Obama took another significant step to encourage American businesses to invest in conservation, signing a Presidential Memorandum to accelerate restoration efforts and incentivize private investment in our land, water and wildlife.
The Army Corps of Engineers was recognized as an agency that has been doing this for years. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA-CW), Jo-Ellen Darcy, recently visited a Corps project that exemplifies both mitigating effectively to improve environmental outcomes, and expediting permitting decisions for the economy.
The Corps’ Charleston District issued a permit this summer for an automobile manufacturing and assembly plant for Volvo (Project Soter) located on 2,800 acres west of Charleston, South Carolina. This project will employ 4,000 people and will attract an additional 2,000 jobs at supply vendors. Approximately 218 acres of wetland will be impacted as a result of the project.
Mitigation consists of five sites that collectively highlight the best practice called “landscape-scale” mitigation. Impacts will be offset by permanently protecting 2,496 acres of swampland in the Dean Swamp watershed, Walnut Branch watershed and tributaries of Four Holes Swamp. The Francis Beidler National Forest, located in the Four Holes Swamp, is an old-growth cypress forest whose tributaries feed high-quality water to the nationally-significant Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto (ACE) Basins.
The Charleston district worked hard and fast with local and state governments, as well as environmental organizations to issue this permit in just 90 days, and Assistant Secretary Darcy thanks them for their leadership and commends them for their innovative environmental stewardship.