Seabird Sanctuaries - Tomkins Island
Tomkins Island became a Bird Sanctuary in 2015. Construction of the island was part of the mitigation requirements for continued maintenance dredging of Savannah Harbor and the island was completed January 2005. Management of Tomkins Island is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). Both parties provide critical resources toward the effective management of this site. The Corps of Engineers maintains the physical aspects of the site, repairing and rehabilitating the rocks and sand that comprise the island and controlling vegetation on the site to allow it to serve as a bare ground nesting site for seabirds and shorebirds. Both parties monitor bird use of the site.
Tomkins Island consists of a constructed island with approximately 7 acres above mean high water. Species that nest on the site include: brown pelican, royal tern, black skimmer, gull-billed tern, sandwich tern, laughing gull, and American oystercatcher. It has had over 11,000 tern nests in one year. Besides providing nesting habitat, this site serves as a winter loafing area for many species. Horseshoe crabs spawn on the beach and thousands of shorebirds feed on this spring food resource.
The colonial nesting behavior of the birds nesting on the island makes them very susceptible to disturbance. Birds are densely packed into breeding sites during the nesting season, which makes them vulnerable to disruption and possible destruction of entire colonies. Human disturbance can modify nesting behavior, resulting in nest abandonment, active aggression toward nesting neighbors, and increased susceptibility to predation. The island provides valuable loafing habitat for birds during the winter months. To allow this Sanctuary to provide the habitats for which it was created, public access is prohibited all year. At all times of the year, only human visitation that is approved by SCDNR or the Savannah District is allowed. Visitors must possess, on their person, written permission from either SCDNR or the Savannah District.
Hours of Operation
This Santuary is closed to public use year-round.
Calendar of Events and Closures
Currently there are no events for this property.
Directions to Property
It is located approximately 1.4 miles offshore of Turtle Island in Jasper County, SC. The island is located between Hilton Head Island, SC and Tybee Island, GA.
Additional Regulations for Tomkins Island Seabird Sanctuary
Regulation Number: 50-11-860
- There are no additional regulations for this property.
The information provided on these web pages are for information only. Changes are made on the DNR's web site as new legislation is passed. Any discrepancy between these web pages and any statute or regulation shall be governed by the statute or regulation.