Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region


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Refuge Facts

  Black Skimmer. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
  Black Skimmer. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

  • Established 1932.
  • Acres: 66, 287 - 29,000 of which are preserved within the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • Refuge is part of the Carolinian-South Atlantic Biosphere Reserve.
  • Located in northeast Charleston County, SC. Refuge office and Sewee Visitor Center are located 20 miles north of Charleston, SC on U.S. Highway 17. Refuge lands are located 20 miles north of Charleston and are accessible by boat only.
  • Refuge headquarters are located on seven acres of permitted lands within the Francis Marion National Forest.

Natural History

  • Refuge is a barrier island/salt marsh habitat extending for 22 miles along the Atlantic Coast.
  • Concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and raptors with over 293 species of birds found on the refuge.
  • Largest nesting rookery for brown pelicans, terns and gulls on the South Carolina coast.
  • Largest nesting population of loggerhead sea turtles outside the state of Florida.
  • Refuge consists of 35,287 acres of beach and sand dunes, salt marsh, maritime forests, tidal creeks, fresh and brackish water imoundments, and 31,000 acres of open water.

Financial Impact of Refuge

  • Current annual budget (FY 2009) of $1,097,400
  • 300,000 visitors annually.
  • 6-person staff.

Refuge Objectives

  • Provide habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and resident species.
  • Provide habitat and management of endangered and threatened species.
  • Provide protection of Class I Wilderness Area.
  • Provide environmental education and recreation for the public.

Management Tools

  • Water management for waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds.
  • Nest relocation for loggerhead sea turtles.
  • Mechanical/chemical control of noxious plants.
  • Deer management with public hunting.
  • Environmental education/interpretation.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Partnerships.
  • Protection of wilderness area.

Public Use Opportunities

  • Visitor and Environmental Education Center.
  • Red wolf viewing area.
  • Trails.
  • Wildlife observation.
  • Shelling and beach combing opportunities.
  • Fishing.
  • Hunting.
  • Photography.
  • Boating.
  • Concession boat to refuge islands.

Last updated: October 29, 2014
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