For nearly 20 years, Athens Clarke County has worked diligently towards its goal of protecting 20% of Athens Clarke County as greenspace. As of last year, this goal has officially been achieved!15,988 acres of public and private greenspace are now protected in the county (see map).
Greenspaces – areas where development is limited to provide wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and public recreation – are essential for creating a sustainable future for our community. Greenspace includes land that is protected by conservation easements, state, federal, and county owned undeveloped land, and riparian buffers, as well as utility easements. Conservation easements, like the ones held by ORLT, make up 11.6% of the greenspace.
Going forward, we should continue to support scientific and community-based assessments of the benefits provided from existing greenspace in order to better understand the ecosystem services these spaces provide and how much more land needs to be protected in order to meet our community’s needs. Oconee River Land Trust is honored to be playing a pivotal role in this ongoing conservation effort.