Characterization of the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin, South Carolina
Threatened and Endangered Species
Low pollution levels, limited urbanization, and relatively high habitat diversity contribute to the importance of the ACE Basin as a refuge for endangered species. Nine federally endangered species (i.e. peregrine falcon, Canby's dropwort, chaffseed, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle, red-cockaded woodpecker, shortnose sturgeon, West Indian manatee, and wood stork) utilize the ACE Basin. Six federally threatened species (i.e. bald eagle, eastern indigo snake, green turtle, American alligator, loggerhead turtle, piping plover) have also been observed in the area. In addition, thirty species are designated as threatened, endangered, or species of concern by the state of South Carolina.
Conservation initiatives that have been implemented over the two last decades protected large tracts of land from significant development. Westvaco and Georgia-Pacific, the largest timber companies working in the ACE Basin have developed management plans that incorporate measures to protect red-cockaded woodpeckers' preferred habitat of old pine trees (Grobowski pers. comm.). The ACE Basin NERR and SCDNR purchased Otter Island to protect one of the last undisturbed barrier islands from development and to conserve a vital habitat for several threatened and endangered species such as the loggerhead turtle.