ACE Basin

Students at the ACE Basin

During the trip we visited the Ashepoo, Combahee and South Edisto (ACE) Basin, which is a part of the National Estuary Research Reserve (NERR) Program. This is one of 27 located along the U.S. coastline. The ACE Basin is approximately 350,000 acres with about 140,000 of undeveloped public and private land. The basin contained a variety of habitats ranging from hardwood forest to tidal swamps. The ACE Basin hosts a variety of different functions including research, outreach and education, hunting, and bird watching; this place literally had something for everyone. It was interesting to see all of these different functions at one location that, from the sounds of things, actually worked well together.  The ACE basin was a more managed area that used techniques like controlled burning and changing the water level, with rice trunks, to control the water level of the habitat. The land of the ACE Basin was also very interesting because it varied with multiple owners. To protect their private land, the owners could receive a tax deduction if they put an easement on their land that would prohibit future development. At first a lot of the students felt this would lower the housing value by putting these restrictions on them. However, the people at the NERR station explained that because the surrounding area was becoming developed that this area would stand out and possibly increase housing value. The Basin also had the remains of the old south because most of the lands were former plantations. Also, slaves originally dug one of the canals we looked at out. Overall, the area was very interesting because of the cooperation between public and private to obtain the common goal of protecting the environment.

Looking across a portion of the ACE Basin