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Posted 8/16/2017

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By Sara Corbett


Although the Charleston District does not have an "official" USACE recreation site, the Cooper River Rediversion Project, or St. Stephen as the District calls it, fits the bill for a lot of the same types of activities. While the public can’t camp at St. Stephen like some Corps sites, there are miles of walking trails, wildlife spotting, fishing and flower gazing. Please enjoy these summer sights as we explore the District’s slice of heaven:

If you’re fishing around St. Stephen, look for these new monofilament recycling stations. We’ve installed them at six locations around the intake and tailrace canals for fishermen to throw away their old lines. Properly disposing of your line in these stations will minimize the number of cases of entanglement of birds, turtles, mammals that we all enjoy watching.

There are several sunflower fields at St. Stephen that are used to attract doves for the fall dove hunting season. The sunflowers bloom all summer and as they grow their seeds become heavy causing the sunflower to droop. Eventually, the sunflower seeds will drop and the doves will swoop in for a feast. After that has happened, the District hosts a Dove Hunt for wounded warriors, which is planned for Sept. 23rd.

In an effort to increase the pollinator program at St. Stephen, two additional hives have joined the five established hives at St. Stephen bringing the total number of bees to approximately 350,000. Pollinators, which have been rapidly declining, are vital to keeping fruits, nuts and vegetables reproducing. Pollinators need lots of land, native forage, and a water supply to thrive, making St. Stephen the perfect location. To promote pollination among bees and other pollinators, a wildflower garden was planted at St. Stephen and began to bloom this summer.

About 50 students from Timberland High School’s landscape architecture class spent a morning spreading wildflower seeds in an open field at St. Stephen. The CRRP staff had previously plowed the field to ready it for the planting. The students took turns digging troughs, mixing seeds with sand, and spreading the mixture. They threw the seeds across the one acre area and let nature take it from there. Three months later, the wildflowers had grown to be more than three feet tall and bloomed to show great color. The wildflowers weren’t planted for aesthetic reasons, they were planted as a pollinator for the bees in nearby hives. The bees can travel up to two miles for pollinating before returning home. This is all part of the first federal pollinator program in South Carolina.

 

St. Stephen has approximately 15 miles of trails along the canal that can be used for bird watching, hiking, biking and running. The trails are open to the public and nearby residents often use them to enjoy all that nature has to offer.