Landowners heard the possibilities.
Officials prepared for the selection process.
And the goal - to preserve 20 percent of Columbia County's green space as part of a statewide program - moved one step closer to reality.
"From this point, we'll have a request for proposals for all landowners interested in participating in this program," said Frank Neal, Columbia County's community services director. "That's really the next big step beyond this meeting."
Monday's meeting at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion was designed to inform landowners of a county green-space plan. About 30 people attended, listening to county and environmental officials talk about how arrangements such as conservation easements could mean tax breaks for property owners.
The program aimed at preserving the county's green space was initiated last year by Gov. Roy Barnes in an effort to protect natural resources in Georgia's rapidly growing counties.
On Monday, property owners found out how their land might fit into the plan, if selected. They were told their land could be considered for acquisition through a land trust, conservation easement, donation or outright purchase.
"Our number one priority is donations," said Neal, adding that requests for proposals will begin in March.
Besides donations, though, "One of the strongest ways is conservation easements," added Steve Friedman, who spoke on behalf of the Nature Conservancy.
Four areas have already been designated as being in need of preservation. They are the Savannah River Conservation Area and Greenway, floodplain greenways, Martinez-Evans open space, northwest conservation area and historic/natural resources.
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