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Senator Ernest F. Hollings Conservation Efforts Honored

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2005

Contacts:
Jennifer Koches, 843/727-4707 x 214

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the conservation ethics, efforts, and support of the National Wildlife Refuge System of Senator Ernest F. Hollings’ by renaming the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge in his honor at a ceremony held today. The refuge, established in 1990, is now the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.

"This is an appropriate way the Service can thank the Senator for his help in protecting one of South Carolina's magnificent wild places," said Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. "The concept of a refuge at the heart of the ACE Basin Project Area was embraced from the beginning, and Senator Hollings continues to be a great advocate for protecting these treasures for generations to come."

Representing one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems on the Atlantic coast, the ACE Basin Project Area encompasses a 350,000-acre watershed area defined by the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers in lower coastal South Carolina.

"The ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge helps protect the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic Coast," said Matt Hogan, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It is a pleasure to honor both a champion of conservation and the national wildlife refuge that is now his namesake."

Situated between Beaufort and Charleston, the area faced the threat of sprawl from the north and south. In the late 1980's, a group of individuals representing state and federal natural resource agencies, non-governmental organizations, private industry, and private landowners came together with a common goal: to protect the unspoiled nature of the ACE Basin. This public/private partnership forged what was to become the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
Under a canopy of 300-year-old live oak trees on the refuge, a crowd of nearly 200 people gathered to celebrate the legacy of Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings. Many of those in attendance at today's event heralded the dedication as a fitting tribute to such a dedicated advocate of the environment.

Jane Griess, Manager of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge said, "Senator Hollings’ dedication and commitment to natural resource protection has been reflected in so much of his legacy that the naming of this refuge in his honor, a permanent place of solitude and wilderness, is an honor to the Service."

Senator Hollings played a key role in seeking federal appropriations for purchasing all of the tracts that now make up the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Over the course of his 38 years in the Senate, Hollings not only helped acquire funding for the ACE Basin refuge but also helped to acquire more than $37 million for several other National Wildlife Refuges in South Carolina.

At the conclusion of today's ceremony, a new sign was unveiled marking the dedication of the refuge to the Senator. It reads “Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.”

“This will remind future visitors of the man who made so much happen for conservation in South Carolina,” said Griess.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information about the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/acebasin/


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



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