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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

September 11, 2014Boardwalk at Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve reopened

The boardwalk at the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve (HP) has been reopened because the wood stork nesting season has concluded. All trails are open for public use. “A record high number of wood storks nested at Dungannon HP this year,” said Christy Hand, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wading Bird Biologist. “A total of 263 stork nests were counted in the rookery and an average of over two chicks survived per nest, making it a very successful nesting season.” Additional information about the 2014 wood stork nesting season will be posted on the DNR Wading Bird Project website this fall.

The federal status of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) was down-listed to “threatened”Wood stork during 2014 because several recovery benchmarks have been met. As a federally threatened species, the wood stork is still protected under the Endangered Species Act. Details about the reclassification can be found in a news release from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. In 1984, wood storks were listed as a federally endangered species after nesting pairs in the United States breeding population 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 – 2,500 wood stork nests in South Carolina each year.

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.

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