DU is working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to improve areas on the Santee and ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuges for waterfowl. Several important habitat management and restoration projects began this spring and will continue into the fall.

Santee NWR Projects

The projects at Santee NWR will rehabilitate and enhance migratory bird habitat on the Cuddo and the Bluff Units' impoundments.

"This joint venture with Ducks Unlimited brings a second element of wetland management expertise and engineering to the Santee National Wildlife Refuge," Refuge Manager Marc Epstein, said.

On the Cuddo Unit, improvements include redesigning the interior dikes, constructing 7,419 feet of new dikes and rehabilitating 6,469 linear feet of existing perimeter dike. New water control structures will also be installed to enhance water delivery and management to the restored wetland complex. This project will allow impoundments and adjacent greentree reservoirs to be managed more effectively for migratory bird populations. Additionally, a pumping system and engine will be replaced to allow proper drainage of the impoundment complex.

The Bluff Unit is the most heavily used waterfowl area at Santee. This unit consists of three primary wetland impoundments. The project will create a fourth impoundment and purchase a much-needed mobile pump to help service this system. In concert with the projects at Santee NWR, the refuge staff will be improving water delivery and drainage to these systems, including installation of several new water control structures.

ACE Basin NWR Projects

At the ACE Basin NWR, DU is currently working on projects at Jehossee Island, Combahee Fields and Bonny Hall. The projects at Bonny Hall impact a total of 209 acres and include dike refurbishment, canal and brush clearing and the installation of 4 water control structures. The work at Bonny Hall is part of the South Carolina Lowcountry Wetlands Initiative NAWCA grant DU received in September 2009. The project improvements at Combahee Fields include rehabilitating 3,530 linear feet of existing perimeter dike. A total of 331 acres will be enhanced at Jehossee Island Units 1-3. Project enhancements at Jehossee Island include re-topping 3,910 linear feet of existing dike and replacing 3 wooden rice trunks and one wooden spillway box.

When these rehabilitation and enhancement projects are completed, both refuges will be able to provide improved habitat for numerous species of waterfowl and migratory birds that utilize the refuges as a wintering area, a stop-over point, or as summer nesting grounds. In turn, visitors will have increased opportunities to view these migratory bird species, undisturbed, in their native landscape.

For more information, contact:
DU's South Atlantic Office
(843) 745-9110