BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – Part of Beaufort County’s landscape now enjoys permanent protection from future development.

A conservation easement now protects land that lies adjacent to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort. The ACE Basin combines the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers, creating a 1.6 million-acre watershed, which is one of the largest undeveloped wetlands on the East Coast.

Thanks to the easement brought by the Department of Defense and Open Land Trust, more of this ecosystem is protected forever from future development. This is because it lies within flight space that offers unobstructed views for pilots in training.

This is a win for both military missions and the Lowcountry’s natural resources, precious waterfowl, 33 plant varieties and endangered species.

The decision will also reduce housing density as well as protect water quality, wildlife habitats and marsh migration.