About the Refuge
Recognizing the high migratory bird benefits and
recreational opportunities served by the lands and waters of Santee NWR, the
Service administratively designated Santee NWR in 1941, under the Migratory
Bird Conservation Act and the Refuge Recreation Act.
Santee NWR, established in 1941, is located in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Of the total 13,000 acres that make up the refuge, only 4,400 acres are owned with the remaining acreage being managed under a lease agreement with the South Carolina Public Service Authority (aka Santee-Cooper). The refuge also manages 10 conservation easements on private lands, totaling 458 acres in Bamberg, Barnwell, Clarendon and Orangeburg counties.
The refuge is located on the north shore of Lake Marion, the largest lake in South Carolina. It is a major wintering area for ducks and geese, as well as a nesting and stopover area for neo-tropical migratory birds, raptors, shore birds, and wading birds. Endangered/threatened species on the refuge include the American alligator and the wood stork. Numerous other species of wildlife are indigenous to this area. Public use opportunities at the refuge include a Visitor Center with educational exhibits, walking trails, an auto tour route, wildlife observation and photography, hunting, and fishing.