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Crockett is 2014 River Manager of the Year

Helps protect land in 12 counties, including Kershaw County

Posted: July 29, 2014 5:44 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2014 5:00 a.m.
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Congaree Land Trust Land Protection Director Mary Crockett shows off her recently earned 2014 River Manager of the Year from the River Management Society in Denver, Colo., earlier this year. Crockett helps protect lands and waterways in a 14-county region, including Kershaw County.

The River Management Society (RMS) recently awarded its 2014 River Manger of the Year award to Mary Crockett, land protection director for the Congaree Land Trust. Crockett received the award during a RMS’ workshop in Denver, Colo., earlier this year.

The River Management Society presents the award to individuals who have provided leadership in promoting and protecting natural, cultural and recreational resources in addition to working effectively and cooperatively with others to establish key partnerships to protect and manage river corridors. Crockett is currently serving as RMS Southeast Chapter President and has been a member for 14 years

According to the Congaree Land Trust, Crockett has been instrumental in protecting lands adjacent to South Carolina rivers, conserving natural wetlands, and educating future generations about the importance of protecting our waterways.

“My love of the outdoors and being on the water has always played a key role in my career,” Crockett said. “Our river systems are such a precious resource -- I find the work of protecting our river corridors very rewarding.  My hope is that future development enables our river systems to endure as great places for wildlife recreation and scenic enjoyment!”

The land trust said Crockett has instructed children and adults in watercraft safety at multiple events across the state and conducted numerous presentations about South Carolina rivers and river issues. 

Crockett’s accomplishment include publishing eight baseline documentation reports outlining the conservation values of private lands prior to placing a conservation easement on them. She also secured multiple grants ensuring 25,000 acres of land will be protected in perpetuity through conservation easements.  She also helped to protect river corridors with National Recreation Trail Status and/or Blue Trail and state scenic designation.

Crockett regularly trains staff and volunteers to effectively serve as land monitors for conservation easements. Most recently, Crockett worked to develop partnerships with private landowners and others to protect property that will provide public access to 12 boat-in campsites along the Wateree River.

Crockett’s peers nominated her for the award.

“Mary’s passion for the river is at the forefront of her work for the Congaree Land Trust,” co-worker Kitty Weiland shared. “She is always working to develop unique paddling excursions for (land trust) members and her enthusiasm is contagious when she highlights the miles of riverfront that our conservation easements help to protect each year.”

Crockett plays an active role in the RMS and is described as a “mover and shaker” by her RMS peers. Crockett orchestrated float trips, published RMS Journal articles, organized workshops and worked to promote river management.

RMS officials said Crockett provides a strong voice for the Southeast chapter as well as the national organization. She received her B.S. in Forest Management from Clemson University and is a nationally certified public manager. She is a well-known naturalist, ranger, land manager and conservation planner with more than 30 years of experience. She has served in her position as land protection director for the Congaree Land Trust since 2012.

The Congaree Land Trust is in its third decade of conserving South Carolina’s scenic lands and now protects 53,664 acres. The trust’s work helps preserve the visual landscape, keeps the water systems cleaner by ensuring the conservation of vegetative buffers around central South Carolina river systems, making it possible for future generations to enjoy the same recreational and agricultural opportunities that we enjoy today.

Founded in 1992, the trust works with private landowners and conservation partners to protect land from development in a 12-county area of central South Carolina that includes Bamberg, Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg counties. Studies show that farming, forestry, outdoor recreation and tourism tied to South Carolina’s natural resources contribute about $54 billion to the state’s economy and provide 463,000 jobs. Conservation easements help protect the natural areas that fuel our state’s natural resource based economy and define our way of life.

(Story and photograph provided by the Congaree Land Trust.)

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