Healthy Eyes Are in Focus at the Eye Center of Charleston

Protect Your Eyes with Help from an Ophthalmologist in Awendaw, SC

If there's one thing that most people can agree on, it's that our human senses are extraordinary. They help us interact with the environment around us every day of our lives. Our brain processes signals from various neurons associated with our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to provide us with a meaningful perception of the world. The truth is, though, that we tend to take our senses for granted unless we experience a malfunction in any of them.

Humans have five senses and the same number of organs to complement those senses: a tongue to taste, a nose to smell, two ears to hear, skin for the sensation of touch, and eyes for sight. Of those senses and organs, our eyes are often considered the most essential, as they enable us to perceive up to 80% of all the impressions we encounter daily.

If other senses like taste or smell stop functioning, our eyes protect us from potential dangers. But they also help provide us with distinctly human memories. Think of all the picture-worthy moments that you have experienced over your lifetime. From seeing your baby smile or walk toward you for the first time to enjoying a memorable movie, it's safe to say that our eyes play an incredibly important role in our daily lives.

It makes sense, then, that we would want to protect our eyes and have them checked regularly to make sure they're healthy and functioning as they should. According to data by Ipsos, however, only 39% of Americans have been to an eye doctor's office in the last year. Fortunately, if you live in the Lowcountry, finding an eye doctor in Awendaw, SC, is easier and more convenient than ever when you visit the professionals at Eye Center of Charleston.

Service Areas

 Eye Surgeon Awendaw, SC

The Eye Center of Charleston Difference

Unlike some eye doctor offices in South Carolina, our team uses the most advanced technology paired with our esteemed clinical and surgical skills to precisely diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye conditions and diseases. We focus on a number of vision conditions, medical conditions, and physician services, including but not limited to:

  • Cataracts
  • Presbyopia
  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Styes
  • Diabetic Eye Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Excisional Biopsies
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Flashes & Floaters

It all starts with an introductory appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors, who will take as much time as needed to get to know you, learn more about your needs, and better understand the symptoms you're experiencing. Once we know the extent of your eye care needs, our doctors will provide you with an effective, efficient diagnosis and plan of action to remediate any issues you're facing.

From nuanced eye surgeries to standard eye exams, we've got you covered. In fact, we offer the latest technology in Varilux Progressives, Transitions, Crizal Anti-Reflective Lenses, Prescription Polarized Sunglasses, and Thin Lightweight Lenses. With a wide selection of frames and sunglasses, you're sure to find the glasses you need in a style you love.

 Eye Doctor Awendaw, SC

What is an Ophthalmologist in Awendaw, SC?

When people think about eye doctors, they often think about professionals who conduct eye exams and prescribe contacts. They don't realize that an ophthalmologist is different than other professionals, like optometrists. So, what is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a vision health professional who plays a specific role in the field of eye care. Along with optometrists and opticians, they are part of a comprehensive eye care team. However, some patients may need clarification on the similar-sounding names of these three types of eye care providers. Each one has unique skills and training for the tasks they perform. You should understand these differences so you can choose the best professional to address your vision needs.

What are the Differences Between Ophthalmologists and Other Eye Care Specialists?

Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists each have a separate role in the field of eye care.

 Eye Treatment Awendaw, SC

Optometrists

These professionals conduct eye exams, vision tests, and can prescribe corrective lenses that help address and solve eye conditions.

 Eye Surgeon Awendaw, SC

Opticians

Opticians are often labeled "eye doctors," but they focus mostly on filling prescriptions for contact lenses, glasses, and sunglasses. They're also experts at repairing glasses and adjusting frames as needed.

Ophthalmologist Awendaw, SC

Ophthalmologists

These medical doctors treat and diagnose certain eye diseases. However, it's not uncommon for ophthalmologists to provide vision services similar to those of optometrists.

At Eye Center of Charleston, we offer patients all three eye care specialists to provide the most well-rounded, effective eye care services in Charleston and beyond.

Are Optometrists and Ophthalmologists Basically the Same?

While optometrists have a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree and can provide primary vision health care, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have received approximately three times the education and training.

They can perform all the same services as an optometrist but can also provide treatment, including performing surgeries such as cataract removal, vision correction, and eyelid lifting. Optometrists may detect signs of eye diseases during routine eye exams but are unable to treat them, so they often refer patients to ophthalmologists at The Eye Center of Charleston.

Surgical Specialties at The Eye Center of Charleston

While we serve many different types of patients with a wide variety of needs, many clients visit our eye surgeon in Awendaw, SC, for very specific procedures. Keep reading below to learn more about those surgeries and the conditions that necessitate an eye doctor's intervention.

While we serve many different types of patients with a wide variety of needs, many clients visit our eye surgeon in Awendaw, SC, for very specific procedures. Keep reading below to learn more about those surgeries and the conditions that necessitate an eye doctor's intervention.

In a young and healthy eye, light passes smoothly through clear ocular structures and is then focused on the retina, the light-sensitive lining inside the eye. The lens, which is a slightly flattened marble-shaped structure, helps to focus the eye. If the lens becomes cloudy, yellow, or limits the amount of light that travels through it, it is known as a cataract. Cataracts can occur at any stage of life, from birth to old age.

Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include the following:

  • Blurry or Dim Vision
  • Lights Are Too Bright
  • Lights Give Off Halo Effect
  • Faded Colors
  • Vision at Night is Poor
  • Vision Distortion

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause damage to the optic nerve due to high pressure in the eye, leading to possible vision loss. Therefore, the primary focus of treatment is to control eye pressure. Early intervention is crucial in preventing severe vision loss. While most patients can avoid severe vision loss with the use of topical eye drops, some require additional treatment.

It should be noted that some patients prefer to have less dependence on eye drops. Along with medical treatment, several safe and effective procedures are available, including laser trabeculoplasty and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery. To learn more about these treatment options, talk to your eye doctor at The Eye Center of Charleston.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending visual information from your eye to your brain and is essential for good vision. While high pressure in your eye is often associated with optic nerve damage, glaucoma can occur even with normal eye pressure.

Although glaucoma can happen at any age, it is more prevalent in older adults and is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Unfortunately, many forms of glaucoma produce no warning signs. The effect of the condition is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the later stages of the disease.

That's why it's essential to have regular eye exams that include measuring your eye pressure. Early recognition of glaucoma is a very important part of that process because it can help slow down or prevent vision loss. If you have glaucoma, you will need to undergo treatment or monitoring for the rest of your life.

Some of the most common symptoms of glaucoma include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Eye Pressure & Pain
  • Low, Blurred, or Narrow Vision
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Nausea
  • Seeing Rainbow-Colored Haloes Around Light Sources

A pterygium is a non-cancerous growth that appears on the surface of the eye, causing blurry vision. It usually occurs in individuals who have a long history of exposure to sunlight or UV light. Should you need pterygium surgery at The Eye Center of Charleston, you can rest easy knowing that your eye doctor in Awendaw, SC, will be highly trained and experienced in the surgical treatment of pterygia.

Also called surfer's eye, a pterygium is an overgrowth of the conjunctiva, which is a thin and clear membrane on the surface of the eye. It can appear as a fleshy growth and is usually found growing from the inner corner of the eye, close to the nose. However, it can also appear on the outer corner or on both sides of the eye. The condition is not cancerous and does not spread to any other part of the face or body. It can cause redness and irritation in the affected area.

If left untreated, a pterygium can grow across the cornea, which is the transparent 'window' that covers the pupil and iris, further impacting vision. In such cases, surgical treatment may be necessary. However, it's important to note that pterygia may grow back even after successful surgery.

Some symptoms of a pterygium include the following:

  • Itching & Burning
  • Inflammation & Bloodshot Eyes
  • Minor Eye Pain
  • Issues with Blocked Vision

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

If you have diabetes, you may be wondering if the disease can affect your eyes and whether or not an ophthalmologist in Awendaw, SC can help. To provide the best answer, it's important that you understand how diabetes can affect your eyesight.

Diabetes is a condition in which your body fails to properly convert food into energy. This is because your body either cannot produce or does not respond to insulin, which is a hormone responsible for transporting glucose (blood sugar) to the cells in your body. When there is an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, it can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves throughout your body, including the eyes.

Understanding Diabetic Eye Disease

When we refer to diabetic eye disease, we're talking about a group of eye conditions that stem from diabetes. Those conditions include the following:

3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes Everyday

Eye problems can be easily prevented if you adopt some easy-to-follow habits for eye care in your daily routine. Even though these habits are practical and easy to accomplish, many people brush them off - until they have serious eye problems. To maintain good eye health and sharp vision, try incorporating these eye care techniques into your daily routine.

Eye Center of Charleston Pro Tip

Swing by one of our eye clinics to see our selection of fashionable and chic sunglasses. Our licensed opticians keep a number of popular sunglass options available at all times, like Costa, Kate Spade, and Juicy Couture. Protect your eyes and look great at the same time!

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Use Protection from the Sun

It's important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with exposure to sunlight and UV rays. These hazards include an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, as well as the possibility of cornea sunburn or photokeratitis. To protect your eyes, try wearing sunglasses that have UV protection. If you don't like wearing sunglasses, you can opt for UV-protected eyeglasses or contact lenses instead. You can also try wearing caps, visors, and hats for added protection.

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Try Not to Rub Your Eyes

One of life's little pleasures is rubbing your eyes when you're tired or have had a long day. It may feel good, but we don't recommend doing it. Reason being, your hands come into contact with a great deal of dirt, dust, and bacteria on a daily basis.

Every time you touch or rub your eyes, these harmful particles can be easily transferred to them. If you avoid touching your eyes with your hands, you can better prevent infections and irritations.

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Try the 20-20-20 Rule of Thumb

To keep your eyes in the best shape possible, consider adopting this handy rule. It states that:

  • Look away from your computer screen or TV every 20 minutes and fixate your gaze on something that is 20 feet away.
  • Blink your eyes 20 times in succession. This helps prevent dry eyes.
  • Get up out of your seat or away from your desk every 20 minutes. Then, take 20 steps. Doing so helps you vision and also helps promote healthy blood circulation and posture.

See a Brighter Future with Help from An Eye Doctor in Awendaw, SC

At The Eye Center of Charleston, we're proud to offer a breadth of eye care services under one roof tailored to you and your whole family. From pediatric myopia management and treatment for dry eye to popular eyewear options and complicated eye surgery, we're ready to help. Regardless of the reason why you visit our eye care office, you can have peace of mind knowing that your patient experience will be comfortably curated for you.

Contact our eye care center today to learn more about our practice and to schedule an initial consultation with one of our expert eye doctors.

Free Consultation

Latest News in Awendaw, SC

Awendaw homeowners concerned about ditch maintenance: ‘It’s a nuisance’

AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - Some homeowners in Awendaw say they are concerned severe weather may be bringing severe problems to their properties.Community members living on Seewee Road claim more recent storms in the Lowcountry have caused drainage issues for roadside ditches along the six-mile stretch of rural road.“My backyard is just totally covered with water,” neighbor Stephen Flagg says. “My front yard has been totally covered with water. I mean, something just needs to be done.”Flagg lives on th...

AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - Some homeowners in Awendaw say they are concerned severe weather may be bringing severe problems to their properties.

Community members living on Seewee Road claim more recent storms in the Lowcountry have caused drainage issues for roadside ditches along the six-mile stretch of rural road.

“My backyard is just totally covered with water,” neighbor Stephen Flagg says. “My front yard has been totally covered with water. I mean, something just needs to be done.”

Flagg lives on the same portion of land as his grandmother, Lillie Swinton. The family has called Seewee Road home since the 1960s. They say they have noticed the problem for decades.

Both Swinton and Flagg say taking care of the ditches along the property is one thing, but they believe fixing the ditches along the wooded areas and uninhabited spaces would make a big difference.

“Anytime we have heavy rain, the water settles. The ditch drain, there’s nowhere for it to go,” Swinton says. “When summer comes, we’re going to have a lot of trouble with mosquitos, and moccasin snakes.”

At one end of Seewee Road sits the Town of Awendaw Town Hall. Town Administrator Gregory Saxton says he has heard the concerns of neighbors and relayed them to the South Carolina Department of Transportation for assistance.

Seewee Road is a state road and therefore maintained by SCDOT through work orders.

“We just want something to be done. Because after all, we’re taxpayers, just like others. We should be able to have access to things, just like the other communities,” homeowner Alberta Goodwine says. “When it’s raining, the water just settles into the ditches and overflows in the yard. It’s a nuisance.”

Goodwine worries parts of the neighborhood community have been neglected. She adds it is a problem that affects her social life and her daily routines.

“When I step out, I’ve gotta have a boot on coming off the step. To protect myself,” Goodwine says. “Put pipes or something, so drainage will go somewhere, not on my property.”

SCDOT spokesperson Ginny Jones released the following statement:

We had a crew work on ditches along Seewee Road Jan. 2-5. Last week, the crew had to work on storm recovery efforts, but we have employees back out there today. The crew will not be onsite tomorrow due to a regularly scheduled safety meeting, but they will return on Thursday and Friday, as well as next week if necessary. Our crews are digging along approximately 9,100 linear feet of roadway, so it is taking some time, but we will continue to work on it as needed.

Regarding a work order, the answer is both: A citizen may enter an online work request, or a municipality may enter a work request on behalf of a citizen. Online work requests can be submitted here: https://apps.scdot.org/mwro/

We have been in touch with the Town of Awendaw about this work. Please let us know if you need any further information.”

When asked for clarification on how uninhabited portions of the road are maintained, Jones released this response:

SCDOT maintains what is in our right of way. If the land belongs to a municipality, county, or other party, we often work with those folks to plan for maintenance, but there are a lot of different ways that can look.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Bucs go for Hootie at Bulls Bay three-peat

AWENDAW, S.C. (March 23, 2024) – The ETSU men's golf team will look to make it three straight wins at Hootie at Bulls Bay. The Bucs, who have won on their last two trips to Bulls Bay Golf Club, begin tournament play on Sunday morning in Awendaw, S.C.The Bucs will be eyeing to join South Carolina and NC State as the only teams in tournament history to win at least three times.TOURNAMENT INFORMATION Name: Hootie at Bulls Bay Dates: Sunday, March 24 &ndash...

AWENDAW, S.C. (March 23, 2024) – The ETSU men's golf team will look to make it three straight wins at Hootie at Bulls Bay. The Bucs, who have won on their last two trips to Bulls Bay Golf Club, begin tournament play on Sunday morning in Awendaw, S.C.

The Bucs will be eyeing to join South Carolina and NC State as the only teams in tournament history to win at least three times.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION Name: Hootie at Bulls Bay Dates: Sunday, March 24 – Tuesday, March 26 Location: Awendaw, S.C. | Bulls Bay Golf Club Course Info: Par 72 – 7,349 yards Format: 18-18-18 (Sunday-Tuesday) Live Scoring: Golfstat Weather: Sunday – 62°, Sunny, Winds NNE @ 12 mph; Monday – 64°, Partly Cloudy, Winds ENE @ 7 mph; Tuesday – 67°, Mostly Cloudy, Winds E @ 9 mph

THE FIELD · The tournament field features South Carolina, New Mexico, Kentucky, NC State, Kent State, Furman, Purdue, College of Charleston, West Virginia, Missouri, Marquette, LSU, ETSU and Toledo · Eight of the teams in the field of 14 are ranked in the top 75 of Scoreboard Men's Golf Rankings powered by Clippd – No. 15 ETSU, No. 19 New Mexico, No. 33 Purdue, No. 35 Missouri, No. 37 LSU, No. 59 South Carolina, No. 71 College of Charleston and No. 72 Kentucky

ETSU's LINEUP · ETSU's lineup features #1 Mats Ege, #2 Algot Kleen, #3 Matty Dodd-Berry Chartier, #4 Jenson Forrester and #5 Remi Chartier · Ben Carberry will be playing as an individual · Pairings have yet to be released … Tee times for the first two rounds begin at 9 a.m., while Tuesday's final round will begin at 8 a.m.

COVERAGE · Fans can follow live scoring all weekend at Golfstat.com. · In addition, live tweets will be available by following the Bucs on Twitter @ETSU_MGolf.

For more information on Buccaneer men's golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's golf page.

Awendaw passes subdivision moratorium, plans more restrictions on residential development

The town is also considering rules to increase protection of large trees — including pine trees, which some governments exempt — and those rules would be enforced with larger fines.Rural Awendaw is largely surrounded by the Francis Marion National Forest and the Atlantic coast, but it also shares a border with South Carolina’s fourth-largest municipality, Mount Pleasant.With about 1,400 residents, Awendaw’s population could more than triple due to developments that already have been approved. One subdivi...

The town is also considering rules to increase protection of large trees — including pine trees, which some governments exempt — and those rules would be enforced with larger fines.

Rural Awendaw is largely surrounded by the Francis Marion National Forest and the Atlantic coast, but it also shares a border with South Carolina’s fourth-largest municipality, Mount Pleasant.

With about 1,400 residents, Awendaw’s population could more than triple due to developments that already have been approved. One subdivision alone, known as the King Tract, could have 965 homes on 1,354 acres under a 2009 development agreement with the town .

The town has no sewer system, and construction of so many new houses with septic systems has raised concerns about pollution. Awendaw’s government has gone from welcoming and encouraging development to applying the brakes, after changes in leadership.

On March 7, Town Council gave final approval to a moratorium — a temporary freeze — that would:

Developments that already have been approved would see no impact from the moratorium.

The freeze on most subdivisions and rezonings has been in effect since early January, because it was initially approved then, and was applied under the pending ordinance rule. That allows municipal rules to take effect while awaiting a final vote.

Next, the town will consider nearly doubling the amount of land required to build a single-family home, from 12,500 square feet to 21,500, roughly a half-acre. That’s a strategy other South Carolina towns and cities have used to reduce the density of development.

If that rule is adopted, it would take nearly twice the amount of land to build the same number of new homes in Awendaw.

Town planner Mark Brodeur told council members the rule change is intended to reduce “development intensity” and septic systems on smaller lots. At a public hearing March 7, no one spoke in opposition to the concept.

At the same meeting Brodeur laid out proposed tree-protection changes, saying the town’s current rules are unclear and need to be more robust.

What’s proposed it reducing the size of hardwood trees such as Live Oaks that would be protected, from an 18-inch diameter at chest height to 12 inches. Softwood trees would also be protected if they are at least 30 inches in diameter at chest height.

Removing a protected tree without a permit would, under the proposal, result in a $250-per-day fine until mitigation steps are taken. That would mean planting new, native trees to compensate, or paying into a town tree fund at $100 per inch.

“The current ordinance doesn’t have a stick attached to it,” Brodeur said. “An ordinance is only as good as its enforcement.”

Some Awendaw residents said the proposed fine should be much higher. John Brubaker suggested $500 per diameter inch, and said Georgetown County has such a rule.

“I would encourage you to consider that,” said resident Grace Gasper, echoing Brubaker.

Carol Riggs was displeased to hear the planned tree rules explained.

“So, I have to ask permission to cut a pine tree on my own land?” she said. “Who are you to tell me if I can cut a tree?”

Brodeur said residents should rest assured that damaged or diseased trees, or those within 10 feet of a home’s foundation, would be permitted for removal. Brodeur said he’s never refused such a permit.

Both the tree protection rules and the minimum lot sizes for new homes are proposals that would require action by Town Council.

Awendaw mayor responds to concerns of overdevelopment

AWENDAW, SC (WCIV) — For weeks, Awendaw residents have been expressing concerns about the potential of hundreds of new homes coming to their community."Town council has approved 822 new residences with more on the docket tonight," Awendaw resident John Cooke said. "Those residences come with a population that will at least double our current population."Read more: ...

AWENDAW, SC (WCIV) — For weeks, Awendaw residents have been expressing concerns about the potential of hundreds of new homes coming to their community.

"Town council has approved 822 new residences with more on the docket tonight," Awendaw resident John Cooke said. "Those residences come with a population that will at least double our current population."

Read more: Awendaw residents fear housing boom could threaten town's rural charm

However, Mayor Miriam Green says the population will not be doubled.

"It's not the truth," Green said. "It's not a total of 800 homes. And if it is, they still have to go through planning."

"I can't say it's 800, 9,00, or 1,000 homes because I don't know," she continued. "But in the preliminary plan, yes, it did say certain amount of homes will be built up there."

Green describes the development plans as "smart growth".

"We are following ordinance and processes of procedures and state guidelines," she said.

In response to the concerns about the development plans being too much in too little time, Green says the town has to follow guidelines and the rules.

"Just because someone comes to you and says 'This is what we want,' doesn't meant that's what the majority of the citizens of Awendaw want," the mayor said.

Residents have also expressed concerns about how new developments may affect Awendaw's roads and infrastructure.

Read more: Ten Mile Neighborhood Association challenges proposed approval of development along Seafood Road

"Last meeting, I heard emergency services people talk about the fact that they were concerned about their ability to support the town," Cooke said. "The roads, the infrastructure might not be able to support (new development). The roads that were made in the early 1950s-60s are still the ones being used today and could fail."

Green says the infrastructure, road, and traffic issues are being analyzed as part of the development plans.

"We're looking at all that stuff," the mayor said. "We have a traffic study in place, but it doesn't happen overnight."

Another concern is the septic tanks that will be used for the new development, which Green says the town is working on with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Read more: Zoning denial a 'win' for some Awendaw residents

"20 years when all these systems start to fail, you could have an ecological disaster that could affect a lot of bulls bay and the intercoastal waterways," Cooke said.

The evening of Aug. 21, the Awendaw Planning Commission reviewed the Harper Valley proposal. It was denied in a 5-1 vote.

Cooke says people who live in Awendaw are banding together in opposition and they are asking for a moratorium to slow down the development.

"It's a growing pain in Awendaw," Green said. "It's not the people that live here. It's the people that came here."

Major land expansion coming to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in Awendaw

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is currently made up of 22 miles of barrier islands. Sarah Dawsey, the refuge manager, has been working with nature preservation since she was in high school and joined the Youth Conservation Corps.“This has been a lifelong goal for me. I mean, I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to get this money. We have barrier islands, the refuge is barrier island...

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A $5 million federal investment will soon add 446 acres of land along the South Carolina shoreline.

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is currently made up of 22 miles of barrier islands. Sarah Dawsey, the refuge manager, has been working with nature preservation since she was in high school and joined the Youth Conservation Corps.

“This has been a lifelong goal for me. I mean, I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to get this money. We have barrier islands, the refuge is barrier islands, and they’re only accessible by boat,” Dawsey says.

Coastal Expeditions does run a ferry to Bulls Island for a fee so those interested can visit for the day. There is a public dock on the island for those with boats to use as well.

“This money will allow us to have a tract on the mainland, where we can have trails, we can have hunting, fishing, environmental education, everything that we do on the islands, but to a greater extent and you don’t have to have a boat so it’s really exciting,” Dawsey says.

She also notes that a mainland tract is a step toward a future corridor connecting the refuge to the Francis Marion National Forest.

Durwin Carter is the project leader for Cape Romain, Ace Basin, Santee and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuges. He says any addition of land is a huge win for conservation efforts, wildlife and the people nearby who can enjoy it.

“It ties directly into what our mission is. Our mission is essentially working with other partners to conserve these lands and habitats and the critters that use it, for the public to enjoy,” Carter says.

Dawsey and Carter pointed out how erosion from storms and sea level rise are threatening the barrier islands and, in their time at the refuge, they have seen the saltwater breach into ponds on Bulls Island and encroach further into the land each year.

“With the threats happening with development and habitat fragmentation and sea level rise, any additional lands that we can conserve are going to be beneficial. We do what we do for the wildlife, for the habitats and for people to enjoy. But we also do it for future generations to enjoy,” Carter says.

The funding comes from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. The fund is made up from the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, and import taxes.

The refuge has a visitors center located off Highway 17 where people can learn more about the conservation work and migratory bird protection the islands offer. Dawsey says people are always welcome to visit Bulls Island as long as they come with respect for the wildlife and leave it as they found it.

“If you see birds flying around or acting unusual or dive bombing you, that’s a signal that you’re close to their nest and they’re just trying to protect their babies,” Dawsey says.

Cape Romain is home to more than 290 bird species that migrate through the area as well as other animals like alligators, deer and sea turtles.

“We are just winding up our field season, so we have a really big loggerhead sea turtle project, it’s seven days a week. We do a lot of posting for birds and stewarding to keep people out of the bird areas and educating people on why it’s important,” Dawsey says.

Carter says his staff and volunteers are grateful for the land the refuge currently gets to take care of. They are looking forward to the expansion once the sale is finalized and eventually to hosting wildlife and visitors on the new mainland tracts.

“We’re really lucky to have the jobs that we have because they really enjoy their time out on the water of Cape Romain; really enjoy their times out on the trails, enjoy their times out appreciating the refuge, doing birdwatching, fishing, hunting, whatever it is, we’re constantly reminded of how great our jobs are because we get a chance to see this every day,” Carter says.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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