The target areas are determined.
The criteria is set.
Now, all that's needed to preserve Columbia County's greenspace is a willing public and a point system to put it all in place.
"We're finalizing the evaluation material now, and at the end of January or by February we'll have a meeting for the public," said Frank Neal, the county's community and leisure services director.
The goal for the Columbia County Greenspace Committee is to preserve 26,000 acres of land in the county with the use of funding from a new statewide Greenspace Act.
So far, the following areas have been determined as zones in need of preservation: Savannah River Conservation Area and Greenway, floodplain greenways, Martinez-Evans open space, northwest conservation area and historic/natural resources.
The county's greenspace committee has determined that within each of the five target zones a list of criteria will be used to rank land on its importance.
Included in that criteria are proximity to recreational users, protection of water sources and watersheds, connections/corridors between existing greenspace, habitat for endangered plants and animals and buffers.
At the committee's Thursday meeting, members also agreed to continue talks on a point-system, which will assign a numerical value to each criteria and help in the decision-making process of land acquisition.
"There will be a very orderly way in which the land will be acquired," said Gwen Wood, the committee's chairwoman. "We can move on all fronts. We really want to pull out acreage in all of (the five target areas}."
Soon, the public will be asked to help in the effort, too. The greenspace committee hopes to acquire greenspace through easements, donations, land trusts and purchases from residents.
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