Bomb Island is located in Lake Murray, a hydro-power reservoir of 50,000 acres located in the lower piedmont of South Carolina. The lake was constructed in 1930, by daming the Saluda River. Bomb Island is 8-10 acres and the remnant of a ridge top above the flood pool. Except for a few shortleaf pines on the western end of the island, most of the vegetation is in an early successional stage of fields, shrubs, and small trees. The island is burned on a regular basis by South Carolina Electric and Gas, the owner. In the 1970's purple martins started using the island as a pre-migratory summer roost and staging area. Numbers built up quickly so that by the 1980's this site was possibly the largest martin roost in the entire country. The area is attractive due to the lack of predators and the martins roost in shrubs and switch-cane 4-5 feet off the ground.

Ornithological Summary

Bomb Island is possibly the largest purple martin roost in North America with over 700,000 individuals observed in 1995.

Conservation Issues

Bomb Island is subject to erosion from wave action in the lake. There is a minor amount of disturbance to birds from careless hikers. A potential problem is predation which could occur if four legged predators become established on the island in the future.

Ownership

Bomb Island is owned by the South Carolina Electric and Gas Company.

Habitat

Most of Bomb Island is in an early successional stage with fields and scrub shrub habitat. There is some older short leaf pine on the western edge of the island, otherwise there is a mixture of wild cherry, grasses, pokeberry and switch-cane.

Land Use

Bomb Island is a conservation/natural area although the surrounding lake is used for recreation during the warm months.

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