A fundraising campaign to save a vital shorebird nesting area in the Charleston Harbor is closer to meeting its financial goal.
With the effort to save Crab Bank facing a January deadline, Ducks Unlimited announced it will donate $25,000 towards the effort.
“On behalf of our senior volunteers and our senior conservation staff… I would like to present a check for $25,000 to the Department of Natural Resources for the restoration of Crab Bank,” incoming South Carolina Ducks Unlimited chairman Brian Ford said in a ceremony last week.
“It’s a very important migratory bird sanctuary here in Charleston,” he said. “We feel like it’s well within our wheelhouse to help support this initiative that’s been eroding and with the support of our tag fund, we’re going to be able to do just that.”
Crab Bank is an exposed sandbar near Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant where thousands of shorebirds once nested. It was created by silt from a harbor dredging project 50 years ago and is one of five seabird sanctuaries designated by DNR. But currents have eroded the sandbar since that time and no birds nested there this year.
Ducks Unlimited’s donation money comes from sales of special license plates.
“With our $25,000 commitment that will be leveraged up to $1.4 million for all our future generations to enjoy,” Ford said.
DNR has reached an agreement to use dredge spoil to restore the bank, but the agency and conservation groups have to raise $1.4 million to pay for the project next year.
“It’s really truly fitting that Ducks Unlimited has come to the table on something that some might think is a little out of the normal realm of conservation, ” DNR Director Alvin Taylor said. “But it’s not. It’s an integral part of the conservation movement when you’re talking about water birds and coastal birds.”
“We’re honored to be able to continue our mission of funding wetland and waterfowl habitats here in South Carolina simply through the public’s continued purchase and renewals of our SCDU license plates,” Ford said. “Our tag program is one of the easiest means for ensuring conservation projects in our own backyard.”
The effort has raised nearly $1.1 million to date. Another $150,000 is needed to meet the goal by the Dec. 31 deadline. For more information about the S.C. Coastal Birds Conservation program, or to make a donation, click here.
The $1.4 million match goal is an estimate based on the Corps of Engineers initial planning. The exact figure is undetermined until the corps awards a contract for the project.
“As close as we are to the goal, we are pretty optimistic at this point that we will be able to raise the amount needed and work with the Corps of Engineers to get this project done,” DNR spokesman David Lucas said.