A water quality monitoring station sits just above the water


The ACE Basin provides a unique living laboratory with a wide range of different environments to work in. Researchers here are working on projects that range widely from assessing fish and shrimp populations to the biological diversity of frog populations to shorebird and wading bird usage of the barrier islands to evaluating living shoreline options for South Carolina to excavating archaeologically significant shell middens that are threatened by erosion.

The Field Station, pavillion and dock from above

Evaluating Living Shoreline Options

Living shorelines offer a way to stabilize and protect shorelines using native vegetation and/or natural materials. Because property owners in South Carolina have had increasing interest in living shorelines and their benefits to the coastal environment, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is pursuing a regulatory pathway to easily and effectively permit them.

To ensure that the resulting regulations and project standards developed are based on sound science, SCDNR and partners evaluated the effectiveness of a variety of greener living shoreline technologies.

Read the Guidance Document

Archeological Work

The ACE Basin is home to numerous archaeologically significant sites left by coastal peoples thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, many of these important places lie in areas vulnerable to erosion, storms and sea level rise, which threaten to wash away our opportunities to better understand South Carolina's earliest human inhabitants.

The shell rings at Pockoy Island are one such site that SCDNR's Heritage Trust team has jumped to excavate and study before its disappearance into the ocean.

Read More About the Pockoy Shell Rings
The Field Station, pavillion and dock from above

The Field Station, pavillion and dock from above

Fish, Crustacean & Shellfish Monitoring

For decades, one of the primary goals of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists along the coast has been to track the health of the fish, sharks, sea turtles, shrimp, crabs and other marine animals that inhabit our waters over time.

For many of these long-term surveys, the intact and undeveloped ACE Basin serves as a reference site to which developed estuaries (such as the Charleston Harbor system) can be compared.