Important Bird Areas

ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge--Edisto Unit

South Carolina

The ACE (for the rivers: Ashepoo, Combahee, Edisto) Basin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in Charleston County, ~25 miles south of Charleston. The refuge is ~ 11,000 acres. The Edisto Unit, which includes The Grove and Jehossee Island, totals 6500 acres. The ACE Basin Watershed represents one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems on the Atlantic Coast. Much of the Refuge is old rice impoundments comprised of typical fresh water marsh plants. The major cover types are, in decending order of prevalence: Mixed Hardwood/Pine, Marsh, Wetlands Management Units, Early Successional Field/Pasture, Longleaf Pine, and Bottomland Hardwood Forest.The southerly latitude, proximity of the ocean and sea level elevation are the determining climatic factors. Average Precipitation is 51.15 inches.
The website is http://www.fws.gov/acebasin/

Ornithological Summary

The Edisto Unit of the ACE Basin NWR supports more than 900 foraging Wood Storks during June-August. Nesting sites for Bald Eagles, Barn Owls and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Black Rails, Mottled Ducks and Painted Buntings are found.Swallow-tailed Kites and Black Ducks use the Refuge during part of the year. Wetlands provide nesting and/or feeding sites for thousands of shorebirds, including Black-necked Stilts, Black-bellied and Semi-palmated Plovers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, all three "peeps," Dunlins, Short and Long-billed Dowitchers.The ACE Basin is known for its exceptional numbers/diversity of migratory landbirds. Ongoing and longterm Painted Bunting Research is/ has taken Place.Wintering waterfowl are found in exceptional numbers.

Conservation Issues

The threats are not major. There is an ongoing eradication program for invasive Chinese tallow and phragmites and feral hogs.

Ownership

The Edisto Unit of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is composed of the Grove Plantation and Jehossee Island totalling about 6,500 acres. The property is owned by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Habitat

Much of the Refuge is old rice impoundments managed for birds. Brackish marsh is the most prevalent habitat type. Mixed Hardwood/Pine Forest is the most common upland habitat with Early Successional Field/Pasture, Longleaf Pine and Bottomland Hardwood Forests comprisingg most of the remaining upland habitat.

Land Use

Ninety per cent of the Edisto Unit of the ACE Basin Refuge is maintained as a National Wildlife Refuge. Supplemental to this primary use is about 5% given to ecotourism, chiefly birdwatching and another 5% to public deer hunting under strict control of refuge personnel.

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