Crab Bank is a small sand island originally made from dredge spoil. There is minimal vegetation due to low elevation. There is no freshwater. It lies near Charleston Harbor.

Ornithological Summary

Crab Bank is an important colonial nesting site for species active in coastal waters and estuaries. It serves as a secondary site for other established colonial sites subject to severe tidal overwash or human disturbance. Approximately 5000 seabirds nest here.

Conservation Issues

Crab Bank is a man-made island situated near the mouth of Shem Creek in Charleston Harbor. It is subject to recreational pressure from boaters in the summer months. It is also subject to overwash during spring tides or storms due to its extremely low elevation. Crab Bank is also a major colonial seabird rookery that features the Eastern Brown Pelican, Royal tern, Laughing Gull, Black Skimmer and American Oystercatcher. It is extremely vulnerable to human disturbance.


Crab Bank is owned by the state of SC and is a part of the Heritage Trust Program.


Crab Bank is a small man-made island (from dredge sand) with very low elevation and no freshwater. Vegetation is sparse, limited to a few grasses in areas not subject to tidal overwash. The upland vegetation is dominated by saltmarsh hay (Spartina patens) while the tidal vegetation is dominated by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).

Land Use

Crab Bank is primarily a wildife conservation area. Secondarily, during seasons other than breeding, it is used by fisherman and paddlers.

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