POWERPLANTSC 2022 to build on 2021’s record setting event

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

The S.C. Floodwater Commission (SCFC) is planning its second-annual planting of more than three-million trees across all 46 counties of the Palmetto State on Arbor Day, April 29, 2022. And like, Earth Day 2021, the Commission hopes to set yet another North American record.

Dubbed POWERPLANTSC 2021, the inaugural event earlier this year led to a record planting of three-million pine tree seeds and saplings in a single day, statewide, as part of the S.C. Floodwater Commission’s overall flood-mitigation strategy. Next year’s planting will build on the success of 2021.

“We set a record on Earth Day [April 22, 2021] with the largest single-day tree planting event in American history,” says Dr. Tom Mullikin, who was tapped by Gov. Henry McMaster to lead the SCFC in 2018. “This year will be yet another record, and like the 2021 effort, the Arbor Day tree-planting will involve a broad coalition of public, private and non-profit environmental partners which will not only raise awareness of the importance of trees to human and environmental health, but will aid in the mitigation of disastrous flooding which has plagued the Palmetto State since at least 2015 and even before.”

According to Mullikin: “For each tree planted, 60 gallons of water run-off is avoided, 443 gallons of rainfall is intercepted, and 133 pounds of carbon dioxide is sequestered annually.”

Estimates, according to Commission officials, are based upon USDA Forest Service research.

POWERPLANSTC 2021 and 2022 are both part of an ongoing effort to plant 10-million trees in South Carolina over 10 years.

“This is vital,” says Mullikin, adding: “Forested areas play a key role in flood mitigation, water filtration and carbon storage. As such, the Floodwater Commission will continue its effort to engage communities across the state in tree planting to create greater resiliency strategies for the Palmetto State.”

Everyone is involved.

Among POWERPLANTSC 2021’s partners were the S.C. Dept. of Education, the S.C. Dept. Corrections, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, the Clemson University Extension Center, Palmetto Pride, the S.C. Association of Counties, Keep America Beautiful, Yamaha Rightwaters, Boy Scouts, 4-H club members, Future Farmers of America, schools, as well as a host of military veterans and veterans organizations from 46 counties, statewide

“As veterans we served our country proudly to protect this great nation: Now it’s important to continue service by helping our local and state communities, especially through conservation efforts,” says Maj. Gen. (Ret.) William F. Grimsley, U.S. Army, who today serves as secretary of the S.C. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. “[Accordingly] myself, along with Gov. McMaster are encouraging veterans across the state to join POWERPLANTSC groups in planting trees to mitigate flooding that we on the frontlines saw firsthand destroy coastal communities in the Palmetto State. It is a volunteer effort that all veterans should participate.”

Grimsley adds: “I am also championing the effort for the establishment of a Veteran Conservation Corps in our state that would be dedicated to supporting conservation missions like POWERPLANTSC.”

Joelle Teachey, executive director of Trees Upstate, says “Trees provide important public health and economic benefits to residents throughout the State of South Carolina. We’ve never engineered something better than a tree for mitigating floodwater, reducing the costs associated with stormwater infrastructure, and reducing the costly impacts on roads and bridges from weather events with high rainfall.”

A key POWERPLANTSC 2021 and now 2022 partner, Trees Upstate has a stated mission of planting, promoting, and protecting trees in Upstate.

“A perfect parallel and clear reflection of our own objectives,” says Mullikin.

For additional information, please visit powerplantsc.com.

– Pictured L-R are Dr. Mark A. Smith, president of Columbia International University; Gov. McMaster, Dr. Mullikin, and Dr. Michael W. Langston during POWERPLANTSC’s 2021 kickoff event on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion, April 22.

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