It's on us. Share your news here.

Dredging project helping to renourish seabird sanctuary off Folly Beach

Posted on March 11, 2024

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – A dredging project led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping to restore a crucial habitat for birds near Folly Beach.

Bird Key-Stono Seabird Sanctuary is home to a variety of colonial nesting seabirds and shore birds. However, the animals are facing what the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources calls “coastal squeeze.”

“There’s people coming in, living on the coast, and there’s water rising up. So, that’s a major threat that we have for all coastal birds,” explained Cami Duquet, a member of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Bird Program. She said these factors contribute to loss of habitat.

News 2 traveled by boat out to the island on Friday to see firsthand how the project is building the birds’ habitat up.

“We’re dredging the material out of the Folly River right here, and as part of the project, we’re putting material up here on Bird Key-Stono because it’s an important seabird sanctuary for the state of South Carolina,” said Alan Shirey, an environmental engineer with the Army Corps.

Sand and water are pumped from the channel onto the island through a pipeline. Army Corps officials said the water flows back out to sea, while the sand settles and is leveled with bulldozers.

“Once everything’s surveyed, it’s flattened out and surveyed, it’s going to be undulated so that it provides a natural habitat,” Jim Brooks said. He is a quality assurance representative for the Army Corps.

The work began about a week and a half ago and will need to be completed by March 15 which is the same day the island will close until October for nesting season.

“In order for them to be able to contribute to their population, they need to have a suitable nesting habitat to be able to lay their eggs, to raise their chick, and then have those chicks then contribute to their population,” Duquet said.

By the end of the project, officials said about 40,000 cubic yards of material will have been placed onto Bird Key-Stono. They said the work is associated with the Folly Beach Renourishment Project.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe