Local organizations construct vital habitat along iconic 18th hole
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (June 23, 2022) – There’s a new oyster reef along the 18th fairway of famed Harbour Town Golf Links thanks to the efforts of local volunteers. The reef—on the banks of Calibogue Sound—is a joint effort of The Outside Foundation, The Sea Pines Resort, and The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
More than 700 bags of oyster shells, each weighing about 20 pounds, were transported to the shoreline then put in place at low tide. Several local groups pitched in, including members of Hilton Head Boy Scout Troop 222.
The bags created a manmade reef that will serve as a habitat for larval oysters, where they can attach and grow. The reef also will help control erosion due to boat traffic and storms, as well as support other wildlife. Oysters help keep waterways clean by filtering large amounts of water, so the new reef contributes to the health of the local ecosystem while preserving one of Hilton Head’s most famous views.
“The Sea Pines Resort is supportive of this and other environmental initiatives,” said Steve Birdwell, President, The Sea Pines Resort. “We know how fortunate we are to live on this beautiful island and will do everything in our power to protect our natural resources.”
The Hilton Head-based Outside Foundation operates the Oyster Recycling and Reef Building Initiative, which has created oyster shell drop-off sites, organized oyster shell collection from roasts and restaurants, and to which The Sea Pines Resort’s restaurants have donated for years. The Foundation also hosts shell bagging events where volunteers prepare quarantined shell for installation. SCDNR provided resources for the program through its SCORE oyster shell recycling program and directed the construction. The Sea Pines Resort, which encourages eco-initiatives throughout its operations and through its partnership with other organizations, was key to facilitating this oyster reef installation by allowing access through the property to the protected areas.
About The Outside Foundation
The Outside Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit with the mission to get kids outside and protect and preserve our local eco-system. The Foundation operates the Kids in Kayaks program, ORRBI-oyster recycling initiative, the annual Keep the Broad Creek Clean Festival, #EarthDayHHI, The OluKai Lowcountry Boil Paddle Battle, along with regular litter clean-ups of beaches, parks and waterways, and community education and awareness initiatives. For more information visit outsidefoundation.org.
About The Sea Pines Resort
Situated on the southernmost tip of Hilton Head Island, the legendary Lowcountry destination features five miles of unspoiled beaches, 20 clay tennis courts, 14 miles of bike and walking trails, horseback riding, Eco-Adventures, water sports, and the 605-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve filled with wildflowers, wetlands, and more than 130 species of birds. As the first Eco-planned destination in the U.S., The Sea Pines Resort has become the blueprint for numerous beach developments around the country. Guests can choose from an array of accommodations, including 300 villas, 100 rental homes, and the luxurious 60-room Inn & Club at Harbour Town, a Forbes Four-Star boutique hotel and Preferred Hotel Group member. The resort’s best-in-class collection of golf courses, amenities, meeting facilities, and accommodations makes Sea Pines one of the most sought-after leisure and group destinations in America. www.seapinesresort.com
About South Carolina Department of Resources SCORE
The South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program allows community volunteers to work with scientists to restore and monitor oyster habitat along the South Carolina coast. Volunteers recycle and bag oyster shell, construct oyster reefs, collect spat, and monitor water quality and reef progress. SCORE volunteers have used more than 570 tons of shell to build 190 reefs at 37 sites since 2001. These sites are used as research platforms to improve restoration success. Learn more at http://score.dnr.sc.gov/