Property Location:
Jasper, SC

Latitude: 32.059
Longitude: -80.868

Acreage: 7

County: Jasper


Felicia Sanders
Santee Coastal Preserve
McClellanville, South Carolina 29458

Seabird Sanctuaries - Tomkins Island

Tomkins Island

Tomkins Island became a Seabird Sanctuary in 2015. Construction of the island was part of the mitigation requirements for continued maintenance dredging of Savannah Harbor; 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 the 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 to keep it a bare ground nesting site for seabirds and shorebirds. Both agencies monitor bird use of the site.

Tomkins Island is a constructed island of 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 season. Besides providing nesting habitat, Tomkins Island serves as a winter loafing area for many species. In spring horseshoe crabs spawn on the beach, and thousands of migrating shorebirds feed on this important food resource.

The colonial 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 between nesting neighbors, and increased susceptibility to predation. In addition, 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Savannah District is allowed. Visitors must possess, on their person, written permission from either SCDNR or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - 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

  1. 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.

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