For Immediate Release
May 12, 1998

Contact: Diana Hawkins



A ceremony to mark the dedication of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's newest wildlife refuge, will be held at the Hasty Point Plantation in Plantersville, South Carolina, at 2:00 p.m., Saturday May 16, 1998.

Speakers will include U.S. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director Sam D. Hamilton, South Carolina State Senator Arthur Ravenel, Jr. and other invited guests.

Hamilton noted that Senator Hollings is a major supporter of conservation and natural resource protection efforts throughout the State and helped to secured the necessary funding for this refuge project, which will be used to purchase land from willing sellers within the approved refuge acquisition boundary.

The proposed refuge covers approximately 49,800 acres of wetland and upland forests that provide habitat for numerous wildlife species including red-cockaded woodpeckers, bald eagles, and wood storks, all Federally-listed threatened and endangered species. The shortnose sturgeon, another endangered species, inhabits the area's rivers and waterways. In addition, the area provides valuable breeding habitat for wood ducks and wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl and is recognized as a key area in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

The Service has so far acquired 134 acres upon which to establish Waccamaw as the 514th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Coastal Education Foundation, Inc., conveyed these acres of historic rice fields to the Service, December 1, 1997. The conveyance was made possible, Hamilton said, through funding and other assistance from the Historic Ricefields Association, a nonprofit organization working to protect historically significant rice fields and plantations in South Carolina's low country.

The public and media are invited to attend the dedication and can obtain additional information from the staff of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge at (803) 928-3264.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 513 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.

The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

Release #: R98-035

1998 News Releases

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