25th Anniversary of the ACE Basin
The history of the ACE Basin Project all started with the grand vision of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
The Early Years
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Nora Murdock recognized the ecological significance of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto River Basin and coins the ACE Basin name.
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan was launched to restore waterfowl and migratory bird populations throughout the United States.
Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley donated Sampson Island to The Nature Conservancy who transfered the property to South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resource Department, now the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as an addition to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area.
Springfield Marsh was purchased by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resource Department with aid from the Ducks Unlimited MARSH program. Governor Carroll Campbell was quoted as saying, "this project illustrates that state and private groups could successfully work together sharing their talents and resources to protect and restore valuable wetland habitats."
The Donnelleys donated Bolder, Warren and Big Islands to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources through The Nature Conservancy. These lands became the core of the ACE Basin National Estuarine Reserve.
Ted Turner placed and easement on the 5200-acre Hope Plantation. The first conservation easement in the ACE Basin.
The ACE Basin Task Force is organized to plan and coordinate protection efforts within the Basin.
The Official Project
The ACE Basin Project was recognized as a Focus Area in the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture under the North America Waterfowl Management Plan.
Ducks Unlimited purchased 8,000-acre Mary's Island Plantation, a key ACE Basin property.
The ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge was established.
Hugh Lane protected Willtown Bluff with a conservation easement.
Ducks Unlimited secured a conservation easement on Cheeha-Combahee Plantation, the largest single developable tract in the core area of the ACE Basin.
MeadWestvaco Corporation formally endorsed the ACE Basin Project, placing 17,000 acres under protection through a Memorandum of Understanding.
Gaylord Donnelley, one of the key supporters of the ACE Basin Project, passed away after donating more than 6,600 acres to the project and protecting an additional 10,000 acres through conservation easements.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources dedicated the former Mary's Island Plantation as the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Donnelley.
The ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve became the country's 20th such reserve under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Through the acquisition of additional acreage in the Edisto and Combahee units, the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge expanded to 9,695 acres.
Dorothy Donnelley signed a conservation easement on Ashepoo Plantation and Fenwick Island, adding more than 9,000 protected acres to the ACE Basin.
Otter Island, a barrier island at the mouth of the Ashepoo River, is purchased by The Nature Conservancy as an addition to the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The Nature Conservancy purchased South Williman Island, adding the key 2,765-acre property to the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The ACE Basin is recognized as one of the world's Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy.
Eugene duPont III left his 9,800-acre Nemours Plantation to a non-profit research and education foundation, Nemours Plantation Wildlife Foundation.
The Maybank family donated an easement on a 2,300-acre portion of Lavington Plantation, ensuring a protective corridor of 22,000 acres from the Combahee River to the Ashepoo River.
The ACE Basin Project celebrated its Tenth Anniversary with 128,000 acres protected, including 45,000 acres of private lands and conservation easements.
The Nature Conservancy purchased Prospect Hill and Riverside plantations, protecting 1,200 acres on Edisto Island.
MeadWestvaco Corporation protected 7,000 acres through a conservation easement along 20 miles of the Edisto River between highways 17 and 17A in Dorchester County.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources purchased 4,489-acre Morgan Island, a key addition to the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve dedicated its new field station at Bennetts Point in honor of reserve manager Michael D. McKenzie.
Protected acreage in the ACE Basin exceeded 150,000 acres.
The ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge was renamed to honor retired U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings who was instrumental in securing funds to purchase property for the Refuge.
The ACE Basin Project area was expanded from the 350,000-acre core area to include more than a million acres, reflecting the importance of the entire drainage basins of the area's three major rivers.
More than 8,000 acres were protected in 2007 through a record of 40 conservation easements in one year.
Management of Botany Bay Plantation, 4,630 acres of marsh, front beach and uplands, was transferred to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Norfolk Southern donated a conservation easement on 12,488 acres of the Brosnan Forest, making it one of the largest single easement in state history.
The ACE Basin Project celebrated 20 years of success through the protection of more than 195,000 acres in a key portion of South Carolina.
Land protection in the ACE Basin exceeded 200,000 acres, including 140,000 acres of private lands through 145 conservation easements.
The ACE Basin Project celebrates 25 years of success with more than 217,000 acres protected in Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Hampton counties.
The 25th Anniversary celebration was held at Nemours Plantation on November 2, 2014.