The Grants Department researches and applies for funding sources that support the City's existing and planned programs and projects. During the previous five years, this department has applied for−on average−$30 million per year in possible state, federal, and foundation grants. Since 2009, Columbia has received more than $60 million in grants, allocations, and awards.
The City of Columbia recently received a $10,000 Community Conservation Grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission for its Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Outreach and Protection Campaign.
The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily (RSSL), Hymenocallis coronaria, is a flowering aquatic plant native to fall line rivers in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Listed as a “Species of Concern” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are only 50 locations in the world where colonies of these plants remain—Columbia is among those few places.
In fact, canoeists, kayakers, and tubers along Columbia’s Three Rivers Greenway are treated to several locations where RSSL bloom--some within sight of the State Capitol.
Unfortunately, some of these same recreational river users are unaware of the fragile nature of these plants and the unique position Columbia is in as a habitat. Uniformed users have been seen trampling RSSL habitat and picking blooms (which, by the way, do not survive once they are picked).
Therefore, the objectives of the RSSL Outreach and Protection Campaign are to (1) protect these rare plants, (2) inform the public of the imperiled nature of this ‘species of concern,’ and (3) inspire some local pride about Columbia’s unique river habitats. By raising awareness about the need to conserve these threatened beauties and instilling a sense of local pride about our unique river feature, we hope to prevent recreational river users from picking blooms and/or damaging the plants.
The primary activities of this grant are to (1) install panels, signs, and a scenic (binocular) viewer along the rivers near RSSL habitats, (2) produce an informational video on RSSL, and (3) expand our existing educational outreach program on RSSL.
The public will benefit as Columbia continues to be one of only 50 locations in the world where RSSL reside. Such uniqueness puts Columbia in a position to capitalize on this fact—as well as the scenic beauty of its rivers. Awareness of the RSSL adds to local pride, gives us a distinctive sense of place, and adds to a “surprisingly cool” vibe in our “Famously Hot” City.
This project is funded in part by the Richland County Conservation Commission.
For specific information on a grant for which the City has applied or received, please contact
Mrs. Chris Segars via email at [email protected] or via phone at (803) 545-4143.