When we last checked in with you about the fate of Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary located in the Charleston Harbor, we were thrilled to share the good news that we managed to raise the estimated $1.4 million needed to save the famed rookery thanks to the immense generosity of countless individual and corporate donors, along with a $700,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant we were awarded.
In another stroke of good fortune, we’ve since learned that the total cost required to restore the sanctuary island will be significantly lower than the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s original estimate of $4 million, with the new price tag for the project ringing in at $377,000. This is great news for everyone involved—especially our shorebirds and seabirds! Thanks to the grant money and the amazing generosity of our donors, we not only have the funds needed complete Crab Bank—but to ensure the best possible outcome for the project, including the potential for using natural infrastructure to stabilize the island’s shoreline, and the addition of things like seabird decoys and a solar-powered sound system that plays happy bird sounds to ensure birds return to the site to nest in the first breeding season after construction is complete. Audubon and SCDNR will also be responsible for intensive monitoring of the island’s bird activity, keeping boaters off the island to protect nesting birds, and tracking all progress on the island. Furthermore, we will be able to apply any remaining funds towards other critical projects aimed at protecting coastal birds in South Carolina.
In addition to providing a revised cost estimate, the Army Corps has also updated its construction timeline. The new completion date is set for 2021. Along with our partners, Audubon will continue working diligently to ensure the project remains on track and is completed as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we are grateful for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ and United States Army Corps of Engineers’ diligent efforts to keep the project moving while thoughtfully addressing any stakeholder concerns.
At the end of the day, I am proud of all our community has already accomplished with this project, and I’m even more excited for the future. We’re all looking forward to the day that the first bucket of Charleston Harbor sand is poured on Crab Bank. With funding fully secured, and a company chosen to complete the work, we are one big step closer to that day.