The  Chesterfield County Soil and Water Conservation District  (SWCD) in South Carolina is using grant money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to restore the longleaf pine habitat in the South Carolina Sandhills region.

The SWCD is one of 24 agencies and groups this year to receive a portion of $6.3 million to restore, enhance and protect longleaf pine forests.

The $250,000 grant, coupled with $250,000 in matching funds, will plant 360 acres of longleaf, apply management practices to 300 acres of existing longleaf, introduce fire to 610 acres, and establish 25 acres of native understory plants, such as wiregrass, bluestems and native flowers in existing stands where the native seed bank has been destroyed.

The efforts will also benefit threatened and endangered species, wild turkey and reptiles, among other wildlife.

The Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership (SLPCP), which includes the conservation district, has been working on longleaf habitat through NFWF grants for seven years. In that time, more than 6,500 acres have been affected. In the past three years, data has been collected to create a GIS layer of all forest stand types and conditions, so that priority areas can be identified and landowners in those areas can be contacted.