Charleston District, SCDNR add 32 acres of nesting habitat to Crab Bank this fall

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District
Published July 6, 2021
Updated: July 6, 2021
Woman and man look at a paper

Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, district commander, meets with U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham to discuss the Crab Bank Restoration project.

This spring, the Charleston District worked with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to reevaluate the location of the placement site for the Crab Bank Restoration project slated to start later this year.

Situated just off the banks of the Town of Mount Pleasant in Charleston Harbor, Crab Bank is a thin moon-slivered islet and designated seabird sanctuary historically used by threated native shorebirds for prime nesting grounds. Over the last several years, the island has gradually eroded due to hurricanes and other storms, diminishing the natural habitat, eliminating high nesting ground, and reducing bird populations.

Sponsored by SCDNR, the federal beneficial use of dredge material project will restore 32 acres of critical high nesting grounds through the one-time placement of roughly 660,000 cubic yards of compatible material dredged from the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project.

“We are excited to begin this important project for our community,” Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, district commander, said at a meeting April 15 with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, town leadership and state officials. “It’s a win-win for the environment, and the restored sanctuary will continue to serve as an ecological and economic asset for the Lowcountry.”

Following through on earlier commitments to reevaluate the placement location prior to construction, the District concluded that shifting the placement 1,400 feet further to the southeast provided the same level of benefits as the original plan and enabled the contractor to take advantage of more areas of existing shallow water.

“All parties worked together on a solution that allows the project to move forward,” Graham said. “Thanks to the efforts of local leaders, the Army Corps, the SCDNR, and Sen. Scott and Rep. Mace — this common-sense decision will benefit the community and the environment. I was honored to be a part of it.”

Construction will begin in September and is expected to last a few months.  Upon completion, SCDNR will monitor the recolonization as the restored sanctuary once again becomes an ecological and economic asset for the Lowcountry.

“We look forward to the successful completion of this project and to a day in the not-too-distant future when seabirds and shorebirds will return to Crab Bank and visitors will again be able to experience what makes this area so special,” said Robert Boyles, director, SCDNR.