Hobcaw Barony is 17,500 acres on the strip known as the Waccamaw Neck. It is bordered by the Waccamaw River on the west, Arcadia Plantation on the north, Winyah Bay on the south and North Inlet estuary on the east. Approximately 50% of the property is tidal wetlands. The upland areas are dominated by pine forest with a large component in longleaf pine. The tract was formerly the site of 13 rice plantations. Today Clemson University and the University of South Carolina have permanent research facilities on the property. Hobcaw Barony also houses the North Inlet National Estuarine Reseach Reserve (NERR).

Ornithological Summary

Hobcaw Barony is an important area due to its location at the mouth of Winyah Bay. It is also important since it is a large undisturbed tract in an area under extreme developmental pressure from both residential and recreational development. Hobcaw has extensive longleaf pine forests with Red-cockaded Woodpecker colonies and excellent Bachman's Sparrow habitat. The extensive salt marsh habitat associated with North Inlet is also important as is the general location with respect to its ability to act as a migrant trap for neotropical species, particularly in the fall migration.

Conservation Issues

Threats to Hobcaw Barony include increasing numbers of feral hogs that disrupt the regeneration of longleaf pine stands and the increasing spread of phragmites australis in creeks, marshes and former rice fields. Adjacent residential development threatens the continued use of fire as a management tool to suppress plants in pine forests. Hurricanes are always an ominous threat.

Ownership

Hobcaw Barony is owned by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation and is operated as a non-profit organization. Much of the property is used for research through agreements with the University of South Carolina and Clemson University who operate biological field stations on the property.

Habitat

Hobcaw Barony is dominated by the tidal salt marsh of North Inlet which is a recognized National Estuarine Research Reserve. The upland area is dominated by extensive stands of longleaf pine with some mixed southern forests and a small amount of wetlands characterized by bottomland hardwood stands and relict ricefields.

Land Use

Hobcaw Barony was created as a wildlife conservation area, which also serves as a scientific research facility for the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. Both colleges conduct a variety of reseach on both the upland and marine environment. Some timber management is conducted to maintain the health of the extensive pine forests.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.