Hilton Head Island, bordered by the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, Calibogue and Port Royal Sounds has a deep and broad history in its land—as well as in its neighboring waters, forested wetlands, fresh, brackish and salt water tidal marshes, barrier islands, and pine and hardwood uplands.
The Ashepoo, Combahee and South Edisto (ACE) Basin, consisting of approximately 1,000,000 acres of diverse habitats along the South Carolina coast, represents one of the largest undeveloped estuaries in the United States.
After centuries of agriculture, timber harvest, and construction of managed wetlands, this large section of the state has been spared from commercial and residential development. A model for conservation throughout the country, the ACE Basin Project protects a vital part of the coast between Charleston to the north and Hilton Head to the south.
The Origins of the ACE Basin Project
The ACE Basin Project was launched in 1988 as a partnership by the SC Department of Natural Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited and private landowners. The mission of the ACE Basin Project is to maintain the natural character of the basin by promoting wise resource management on private lands and protect strategic tracts by conservation agencies. A major goal of the protection efforts is to ensure that traditional uses such as farming, forestry, recreational and commercial fishing and hunting will continue in the area.
Private Property Ownership on the ACE Basin
Private property owners play the largest role in the protection of the Basin. More than 150 private landowners have placed conservation easements on their properties, permanently protecting 148,000 acres. Easements are perpetual restrictions to preserve the natural values and protect wildlife habitat, while sustaining traditional land uses such as timber management, agriculture, hunting and commercial and recreational fishing.
The ecological value of the Basin incudes historic and cultural landmarks such as old plantation homes, forts, cemeteries and churches. You can drive, boat or paddle the Basin. My next blog will cover the driving trail of this amazing place!
For more information about the ACE Basin, or any other unique aspect of Hilton Head Island, contact Hilton Head real estate agent Bill True!