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.


An SCDNR employee shows training attendees two Monarch butterflies captured to be tagged

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