The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, steeped in cultural history and natural resources, is located within the larger 350,000-acre Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin System, which represents one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems remaining on the Atlantic Coast. The Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers form the extensive estuaries and sections of the Refuge boundary. E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR comprises two units, the Combahee and Edisto, which encompass bottomland and upland forests, fresh and salt water marsh and managed impoundments.

Visit Us

Ernest F.Hollings ACE Basin NWR is drained by two significant river systems: the Combahee-Salkahatchie and the South Edisto. A mosaic of lands and waters, the refuge harbors an abundance of migratory and resident birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish and other wildlife. These diverse habitats and wildlife offer a variety of traditional, outdoor recreation pastimes. Enjoy hiking and biking, photography, birding and observing other wildlife, hunting and fishing. 

The refuge is rich in cultural as well as natural history. Located within the Edisto Unit is the Grove Plantation. The refuge headquarters and visitor station is the Grove House, a former rice plantation manor built in 1828, and one of only three antebellum mansions in the area that survived the Civil War. The Grove Plantation Manor is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Edisto Unit is closed to hiking during deer hunting season. Please contact the refuge office at (843) 889-3084 for scheduled hunt dates. 

 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Painted bunting

      The E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR Edisto Unit, is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Charleston and lies along the South Edisto River. The Combahee Unit is located about 20 miles northwest of Beaufort. The refuge contains exceptional wildlife habitat and provides haven for a vast array of birds, fish, and many other animals including endangered and threatened species. 

      Rich in cultural history, sixteen archaeological sites have been identified on the refuge including the Grove Plantation. Jehossee Island, a significant archeological area, has been assessed for eligibility for both a rural historic landscape and historic district.  Jehossee Island is not open to the public.

       

      Tours

      Perimeter Pond Tour

      Partnerships with historical associations, resource agencies and organizations, and colleges provide opportunities for environmental studies and specialized tours on the refuge.Tours may be coordinated with the Refuge Manager. Please contact the Manager at (843) 889-3084.

      What We Do

      E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR manages its intricate network of marshes and tidal creeks, forested uplands and wetlands, fields and impoundments to support the myriad of plants and wildlife.

      Committed to preserving the natural resources to assure that all habitats and wildlife continue to thrive, conservation management requires a variety of techniques that include moist soil management, prescribed fire, agricultural planting of crops for wildlife, forestry techniques, and trapping to control populations and protect endangered and threatened species and migratory birds. Wholesome wildlife-dependent activities are offered that are compatible with refuge objectives for wildlife and habitats. Hunting and fishing are allowed on specific areas of the refuge and are in accordance with state and specific refuge regulations. Hiking trails on both the Combahee and Edisto have great areas for birding and other wildlife watching. With beautiful landscape vistas and historic cultural sites, the refuge is a popular destination for those interested in photography.

      Be sure to check the hunting and fishing regulations brochure. Please call the office at (843) 889-3084 for more information on recreation opportunities on the refuge.

      Our Organization

      Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin NWR works collectively with federal, state and local agencies, conservation organizations, private landowners and individuals to support conservation programs in keeping with the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System and this refuge. At the E.F.H. ACE Basin and the greater ACE Basin System, with its extensive wetland areas and a myriad of  diverse wildlife and fish species, programs are undertaken to enhance and restore habitat and wildlife and fish populations, migratory birds, and preserve the historic and cultural sites at the refuge. 

      The Migratory Bird Program works with partners to protect, restore and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations by: ensuring long-term ecological sustainability of all migratory bird populations, increasing socioeconomic benefits derived from birds,...
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conserves more than just flora and fauna at America’s national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. As mandated under the National Historic Preservation Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service also conserves tens of thousands of archaeological and historic...
      We provide national leadership in the recovery and conservation of our nation's imperiled plant and animal species, working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to build the road to recovery to bring them back. We work with a range of public...
      The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides free technical and financial assistance to landowners, managers, tribes, corporations, schools and nonprofits interested in improving wildlife habitat on their land. Since 1987, we have helped more than 60,000 landowners restore more than 7...
      Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and other living organisms that thrive in areas where they don’t naturally live and cause (or are likely to cause) economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal or plant health. Invasive species degrade, change or displace native habitats,...
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages fire safely and cost-effectively to improve the condition of lands while reducing the risk of damaging wildfires to surrounding communities. This balanced approach to fire management benefits people and wildlife.
      Our infrastructure portfolio drives local economic activity and supports every recreation and conservation activity that takes place on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands. Infrastructure and the Service maintenance workforce are the foundation of almost everything that occurs within the National...
      This competitive program provides funding for long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems by helping States and Territories to protect, restore and enhance coastal habitats.

      Our Species

      Wood ducks

      E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR was established to conserve and enhance a nationally significant ecosystem that provides a complex of habitats for fish and shellfish, wintering waterfowl, endangered and threatened species, migratory and resident birds and other upland animals. Lying along the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge is rich in birdlife year-round. The refuge provides a haven for the rare and secretive Black rail and neotropical summer migrants including the Painted bunting, Prothonatary warbler and Summer tanager. Wetland habitats at ACE Basin support numerous wintering waterfowl species such as gadwall, teal, canvasback, scaup, red head and ring-necked ducks, as well as many wading birds, particularly the threatened Wood stork. Designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, as many as 291 bird species have been recorded on the refuge.

       

      Wood storks are large, long-legged wading birds, about 5O inches tall, with a wingspan of 60 to 65 inches. The plumage is white except for black primaries and secondaries and a short black tail. The head and neck are largely unfeathered and dark gray in color. The bill is black, thick at the...

      FWS Focus

      Our Library

      Our library is a repository of published documents that are relevant to the programs and management activities at Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These documents provide information for what is undertaken at E.F.H. ACE Basin and the Service to protect wildlife, maintain and restore wildlife habitats, and protect and maintain our cultural resources.

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love.  Put your passions and skills to work at E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR! Join refuge staff and volunteers to enhance wildlife habitat, participate in wildlife studies and surveys, and garner community support for refuge programs and resources. 

      Get in touch. Contact the Refuge Manager at (843) 889-3084 or email acebasin@fws.gov

       

      Projects and Research

      E.F.H. ACE Basin NWR is a significant area within the larger ACE Basin Project. The refuge works within the Project and with the Ace Basin Task Force to protect a riverine ecosystem, maintain quality habitats for waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds, threatened Wood storks and, manage wetland units to support diverse wildlife species. The Task Force is a consortium of private landowners, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies organized to plan and coordinate protection efforts within the Basin. The Task Force works to maintain the Basin's natural character, protect strategic tracts of habitat and, ensure that traditional uses like farming, forestry, recreational and commercial fishing, and hunting will continue.