** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
March 6, 2013
Boardwalk at Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve closed to protect nesting wood storks
The boardwalk at the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve (HP) has been temporarily closed to protect nesting wood storks. The wood storks at Dungannon HP have been found to be extremely sensitive to human disturbance. While the trails at Dungannon HP remain open for public use, the boardwalk is expected to reopen after the nesting season has concluded, which is typically late summer.
In 1984, wood storks (Mycteria americana) were listed as a federally endangered species. The United States breeding population of wood storks was listed as endangered after nesting pairs declined from between 15,000 and 20,000 in the 1930’s to 2,500 pairs by 1978. Historically, wood storks have used South Carolina as a post-nesting foraging area during the summer and fall. In 1981, the first successful wood stork nests were documented in South Carolina (11 nests). Currently, there are approximately 1,500 – 2,000 wood stork nests in South Carolina each year. During 2012, 168 stork nests were counted at Dungannon HP. The storks nested successfully, and an average of 1.1 chicks fledged per nest.
The Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve offers excellent habitat for many migrating and breeding songbirds and a variety of native wildflowers including large stands of wild Easter lily and five species of orchids. Dungannon HP is about 17 miles south of Charleston on SC Highway 162, four miles from the turn-off from US Highway 17. The management road system provides easy walking through open hardwood forest. No motorized vehicles are allowed. The preserve is open seven days a week during daylight hours.
People who are interested in viewing nesting wood storks are encouraged to visit the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in Green Pond. Nesting wood storks can be observed from a safe distance from the dike near the office.
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