Barrier Island Projects in South Carolina

DU is working with partners on restoration efforts off the coast of South Carolina.

Capers Island restoration project.

© Ducks Unlimited

Capers Island restoration project.

Ducks Unlimited is working with partners on restoration efforts on two barrier islands off the coast of South Carolina. Capers Island State Heritage Preserve, which is an undeveloped barrier island owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is located approximately 15 miles north of Charleston, between Dewees Island and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Capers Island lies about three miles from the mainland, is approximately three miles long and is accessible only by boat. DU improved wetland habitat by installing a water-control structure with tidal gates and bulkheads. DU also enhanced embankment infrastructure and the island’s internal canal system. These improvements allow DNR staff to utilize tide cycles to flush nutrients and marine species into the island’s predominately stagnant water system.

Restoration work is also taking place on Bulls Island, part of Cape Romain NWR. The refuge stretches along 22 miles of the South Carolina coast and provides important habitat for a variety of shorebird species. The dike currently in place on the island’s Jacks Creek waterway has long suffered from erosion caused by shifting tidal currents that remove sand and sediment from the beachfront, as well as wave action from the Atlantic Ocean. To address this, DU is installing a new cross dike and associated water-control structure on the creek. These new structures will improve management capabilities and increase habitat diversity for beachfront shorebirds, which have experienced dramatic habitat loss primarily due to development. Cape Romain NWR is a part of the Cape Romain Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of International importance.