Samworth WMA. Photo courtesy of Emily Purcell, Ducks Unlimited.

One of the most common ways folks often use the Blueprint is to strengthen their grant proposals. Often, funders want to know how a proposed project contributes to regional objectives and partner priorities, and the Blueprint can serve as that shared strategy! The indicators can also help tell a compelling story about what makes an area special.

Several organizations in South Carolina recently found out that they received funding from grant proposals supported and informed by the South Atlantic Blueprint!

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) used the Blueprint to strengthen an application for funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Land Acquisition and Construction Program. They were awarded $130,000 to protect a 12-acre hummock in the South Hutchinson Island complex and expand the ACE Basin NERR. The Blueprint and underlying indicators helped communicate the importance of the parcel for connectivity, reptile and amphibian habitat, water quality, and climate resilience.

Ducks Unlimited referenced the Blueprint in a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant proposal to restore and enhance 270 acres of wetlands in Samworth Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Winyah Bay. South Carolina DNR received $1 million for the project, which Ducks Unlimited will oversee and deliver. The Blueprint reinforced the regional importance and biodiversity value of this section of Samworth WMA and helped demonstrate how the project advanced partner ecosystem and watershed plans.

Finally, the Sumter National Forest used the Blueprint to strengthen an application to the Land Water Conservation Fund. The national forest received $1.6 million to acquire almost 1,500 acres in the Piedmont of South Carolina, advancing a collaborative effort called “The Promise of the Piedmont.” In this proposal, the Blueprint and indicators helped highlight the unique value of the tracts for aquatic connectivity and imperiled species, reptile and amphibian habitat, climate resilience, and more. Since 2016, the Blueprint has helped the Sumter National Forest bring in $5.2 million to support proposed land protection projects that total 7,700 acres!

One of my favorite things about the job of user support is that I get the chance to help all sorts of passionate and dedicated conservation professionals get their work accomplished. As your South Atlantic Blueprint user support team, Louise and Rua and I are here to help you use the Blueprint to bring in new resources and inform your decisions. We’re always thrilled when the Blueprint can play a role in great success stories like these! If you’re interested in using the Blueprint in your work, please reach out to me at hilary_morris@fws.gov.