- photo by MichaelFurtman.com
The Washo Reserve is located within Santee Coastal Reserve, 12 miles southeast of Georgetown, South Carolina. This reserve features a unique freshwater cypress lake and cypress-gum swamp, which harbors the oldest known wading bird rookery in continuous use in North America. During the 1930s, more than 500 nesting pairs of common egrets were estimated on the Washo Reserve. Wood storks, now endangered in South Carolina, were first observed on the Washo Reserve in 1994.
The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited have been working collaboratively to help maintain the Washo Reserve's habitat value for wintering waterfowl as well as wading birds. Dying cypress trees and an overabundance of aquatic weeds threatened the interior rookery used by more than 150 nesting pairs of wood storks. A new water-control structure was installed to help manipulate the water levels to better manage new cypress growth. This structure and three others have aided in the enhancement of 648 acres of wetland habitat.