Extensive Longleaf Pine Savannahs and 23 Carolina Bays, with dense shrub layers in the latter are the major part of the landscape at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve. Bald Cypress-Tupelo Gum Swamp and Shrub/Scrub areas are secondary habitat types. Unusual plants found here are Venus fly traps, Pogonia orchids, White-fringed orchids, Pine lilies, and Green pitcher plants. Lewis Ocean Bay hosts the largest population of black bear in SC. A wildfire of 2009 burned some of this preserve, so it is now undergoing a successional recovery. Wild fires burn this area on a 25-30 year frequency.The website is http://www.dnr.sc.gov/managed/heritage/lewisbay/description.html.
Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve manages longleaf pine habitat for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. In 2008 32 individuals were counted in 10 colonies. Lewis Ocean Bay hosts the following breeding WatchListed species:Worm-eating, Prothonotary, Prairie, and Kentucky Warblers, Wood Thrush, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-headed Woodpecker. Good number and diversity of neotropical migratory species.
Due to encroachment of nearby residential development, Lewis Ocean Bay biologists are unable to do prescribed burns as often as needed to maintain the Longleaf Pine habitat adequately.
Many bears die on local highways as traffic increases with development. In 2007, 36 bears were killed at State Roads 90, 22 and 31. 18 were killed within Lewis Ocean Bay HP.
Lewis Ocean Bay is owned by the state of South Carolina and managed by the Department of Natural Resources as a Heritage Preserve site.
Lewis Ocean Bay is primarily a "recovering" Pine Plantation now managed for a Longleaf Pine ecosystem.
Secondarily there are Shrub/Scrub and Bald Cypress-Tupelo Gum Swamp habitats. There are 23 Carolina Bays. Rare plants found in the Heritage Preserve include: Venus Fly Trap, Pogonia Orchid, White-fringed Orchid, Pine Lily and Green Pitcher Plant.
According to the DNR, Lewis Ocean Bay is home to the largest population of black bear in SC.
Lewis Ocean Bay is primarily a wildlife conservation area. Some hunting is allowed.