Special Places Inventory
In 2010, Upstate Forever released the Special Places Inventory of Spartanburg County (SPI), a resource co-occurrence study that used Geographic Information System (GIS) data layers to map Spartanburg County's last remaining large-scale biologically diverse areas. These areas are doing the hard work of protecting threatened species, filtering water and improving air quality.
That same summer, the Woodruff-Roebuck Water District (WRWD), which provides drinking water to the southern part of the county, began looking for a site to build a water treatment plant that would utilize intakes close to the confluence of the North and South Tyger rivers. The original site chosen, unknown to the water district, was exceptionally biologically diverse (as indicated by the SPI and confirmed on the ground by local experts) and was even lacking in invasive species.
WRWD’s general manager Curt Dillard agreed to look for an alternate, less-sensitive site and ultimately found a nearby location that had been a timber property. It had already been converted to monoculture and thus was far less valuable from a diversity standpoint. The original site, while still not protected by a conservation easement, has been spared development for the time being and continues to provide its ecosystem services to the larger community.