An aerial image of the Ashepoo River with the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve Logo

Protecting the natural beauty, abundant wildlife and unique cultural heritage of the South Carolina Lowcountry since 1992.

The ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve lies in one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the east coast of the United States. Its nearly 100,000 acres are home not only to wildlife, including shortnose sturgeon, loggerhead sea turtles, diamondback rattlesnakes and bald eagles, but also to cultural and archaeological resources that tell the complex history of this land. The Reserve serves as a community hub for coastal science and learning in the heart of the ACE Basin.


A scientist studying a piece of vegetation in the marsh

We conduct research to learn more about weather patterns, water quality, habitats, and wildlife populations in the ACE Basin.


Students on an education boat cruise studying a male stingray pulled from the trawl net

We lead educational programs to teach K-12 students and adults alike about South Carolina's natural resources and the science of protecting them.


A group discusses graphs around an office table

We provide professional training opportunities for coastal community members to promote balanced relationships with our natural resources.

A salt marsh at low tide

South Carolina Marsh Stakeholder Collaborative

Learn more about salt marshes and our ongoing efforts in partnership with North Inlet - Winyah Bay NERR to study and improve the health of South Carolina's 350,000 acres of salt marsh.

Learn More

A biologist handles equipment aboard a research vessel

Conservation Career Toolkit

Interested in a career in conservation? Explore our new toolkit to discover a range of careers making strides in conservation as well as resources to help you find your own unique path to success.

Career Toolkit