Major Public land holdings and private lands in conservation status in the Coastal Zone (acres)
Belle W Baruch Foundation Brookgreen Gardens Lowcountry Open Land Trust Nemours Wildlife Foundation Public Service Authority South Carolina Department of Natural Resources South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism The Nature Conservancy United States Department of the Navy United States Fish & Wildlife Service United States Forest Service United States Marine Corps University of South Carolina
6,815 632 733 2,906 606 35,585 2,798 3,952 1,056 29,297 4,732 5,875 568
mesic) soils may be heavily populated with tallowtree (Triadica sebiferum), which quickly becomes established and out-competes more desirable native plants (J.W. McCord, SCDNR, pers. obs.). Feral non-native mammals like goats (Capra hircus) and pigs (Sus scrofa), inhabit coastal zone islands and marshlands. Goats can heavily browse vegetation, thereby reducing plant diversity, cover and soil stability; feral pigs can damage soils, marshes and impoundment dikes (J.W. McCord, SCDNR, pers. obs.). Non-native fishes like the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), the flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), and the blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus), may not directly impact habitats, but can alter ecosystem health through predation on or competition with native species.
Coastal development along the Grand Strand and barrier island beaches has reduced unique coastal zone habitats. A high percentage of the state’s maritime forests, maritime grasslands, maritime shrub thickets, beach flats and intertidal beaches have been negatively affected. Terrestrial habitats are physically removed to accommodate housing and other structures and natural and dynamic beach processes of erosion and accretion of sands have been altered to protect human structures and recreational interests. Hardened structures such as rocks, groins and jetties prevent natural sand movements. Beach renourishment from sand pumped from offshore or estuarine sites is frequently used to restore dune systems and beach flats.
Beachfront habitats in South Carolina have likely been more negatively affected by anthropogenic activities than any other ecosystem. Further, many priority species either presently rely, or once relied, upon such habitats. Human population growth and associated anthropogenic impacts are greater in or near the coastal zone than in any other ecoregion in the state.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the human population within the seven counties (Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, Berkeley, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper) that include or border portions of the coastal zone increased by 41.1 percent from 1980 to 2000. Furthermore, this area is predicted to undergo an additional 28.1 percent growth in human population from 2000 to