Crab Bank to grow


Charleston, S.C. (Nov. 13, 2019) — The initiative to save Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary has taken a giant step forward with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent approval of the $124 million Lower Harbor contract as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening project.

Awarded in August to Virginia-based Norfolk Dredging Company, the Lower Harbor dredging contract includes an option that will allow the placement of approximately 660,000 cubic yards of sediment within the historic footprint of Crab Bank — material that would otherwise be disposed of in an EPA-approved disposal area offshore. The local share of the final cost to place the dredge material on Crab Bank will be only $132,000 — considerably less than the Corp’s original estimate.

“This is great news for everyone that stepped up to the plate to protect Crab Bank,” said SCDNR Interim Director Robert Boyles. “This means that we will be able to continue efforts with our partners to better understand, protect, and improve coastal bird habitat up and down the South Carolina coastline.”

The Corps expects to supply the remaining $245,000 needed for the project. When completed, the work will restore approximately 28 acres of prime nesting habitat above the high tide line for coastal birds. Recognizing the need for a strategy to identify funding for Crab Bank, SCDNR worked with Audubon South Carolina, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Coastal Expeditions Foundation to make the success of Crab Bank a reality by establishing the South Carolina Coastal Bird Conservation Program, an SCDNR-managed fund that can receive donations, draw interest and help finance critical projects to help protect coastal birds.