Go Zero At Santee NWR, South Carolina Tree Planting
Longleaf pine saplings. John S. Quarterman/Flickr
At A Glance
- Restoring 450 acres of longleaf pine.
- The Refuge was established in 1949.
- Longleaf pine can live up to 450 years old.
Did You Know?
The Santee Indians lived along the Santee River for thousands of years. At Santee NWF lies the Santee Indian Mound, estimated to be at least 1,000 years old. It served as the ceremonial site and a burial for the Santee Native Americans. This mound is the largest such mound to be discovered on the coastal plain to date.
Santee National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 13,000 acres, including 39 miles of shoreline along the banks of Lake Marion, and serves as the southerly most migration point in the Atlantic Flyway. Santee boasts three migratory bird sanctuaries for wintering waterfowl (including dozens of species of ducks) and hosts the last remaining population of migratory Canada geese in South Carolina. Other wildlife calling this refuge home includes the American alligator, the wood stork and the short-nosed sturgeon which are endangered and threatened species. More than 180,000 visitors flock to Santee each year to experience and view the wildlife. In 2007, Santee NWR was the site of one of the first Go Zero restoration projects. But the refuge needs our help once again. Together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we aim to restore 450 acres of longleaf pine and nine acres of hardwood trees in 2014.
The site has historical significance too. The Santee Indian Mound/Fort Watson site was used by the Santee Indians, who lived here over 1,000 years ago, for ceremonies and burials and later was the location of a British outpost that was defeated by the lake’s namesake, Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion.
Longleaf pine forests were once abundant across the Southeast. Now, just a fraction of those forests remain—less than 4 percent. Restoring these native forests is important for our global climate. Longleaf pine is resistant to fire and beetle infestation, thrives in wet and dry periods, and can withstand hurricane-force winds, increasing the likelihood that the trees will live to an old age. In fact, longleaf pine can live more than 150 years. In some cases, longleaf pine can even live up to 450 years. While the Santee project is not a validated carbon project (it’s forest restoration only), planting 450 acres of longleaf pine has the potential to accrue more than 60,000 metric tons of CO2 over the next 100 years.
Wildlife: ducks and geese, neo-tropical migratory birds, raptors, shore birds and wading birds, as well as endangered/threatened species such as American alligator and wood stork
Water: Santee NWR is on Lake Marion, the largest lake in South Carolina
Community: visitor’s center with educational exhibits, walking trails, an auto tour route, wildlife observation and photography, hunting and fishing.
Conservation Partner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service