AP NEWS

Grant announced to aid restoration of SC’s Crab Bank

November 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A foundation has granted $700,000 to the effort to save South Carolina’s Crab Bank, a greatly eroded island and bird breeding area in Charleston Harbor.

The Post and Courier reports that the grant was needed by organizers hoping to complete a $1.4 million fundraising effort.

The grant was announced Friday by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The grant was given to Audubon South Carolina, one of the members of the S.C. Coastal Bird Conservation Program coalition. They are working under the auspices of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to raise the local share of money to restore the island.

Crab Bank was once a vital seabird and shorebird rookery.

The restoration work involves redirecting soils from the deepening of the Charleston shipping channel to replenish Crab Bank.

At its peak, the island covered more than 18 acres and nested nearly 4,000 birds. By last summer, erosion had cut the high ground to about an acre and no birds nested.

It was one of five protected rookeries that helped make for the eye-catching flocks of seabirds and shorebirds that are a wonder of the Southeast coast — from pelicans flying in formation by the dozens to black skimmers and oystercatchers hunting inches above the water.

The five rookeries are tiny, uninhabited swaths of sand and reeds where the birds tend nests in huge flocks of mixed species. They are vital habitat for troubled and threatened species. Each one is critical because individual islands tend to wash out, and because a tropical storm or hurricane can wreak havoc along any one of them.

Crab Bank is the only one located in the relative safety of a harbor.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

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