By Lisa Lord 01Feb21
The Kingsburg Bay is a 19.78 acre Carolina Bay owned by the South Carolina Native Plant Society. Historically, the plant community was comprised of a diverse herbaceous groundcover, scattered pond pine and myrtle-leaf holly within the wetland and longleaf pine flatwoods in the surrounding uplands. The property is known to harbor several rare plants including Rhynchospora careyana (Carey’s Horned Beaksedge), Rhexia aristosa (Awned Meadow-beauty, Bristly Meadow-beauty), Tiedemannia canbyi (Canby’s Dropwort/Cowbane), Eupatorium paludicola (Bay Boneset), Lobelia boykinii (Boykin’s Lobelia), Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum (Florida Peanut-grass, Blue Maiden-cane), Rhynchospora tracyi (Tracy’s Beaksedge).
The property was acquired in 2009 by Santee Cooper for the purpose of environmental
mitigation and then transferred to the SCNPS in late 2019. Since acquiring the property, SCNPs has been working on developing management plans and acquiring funding to carry out the restoration activities which includes restoring the historic native plant community, the wetland functions, and potentially the rare plant populations by reducing coverage of loblolly, wax myrtle, and other woody species, invasive species removal, and through prescribed fire. It will also be a site for isolated wetland restoration demonstration and environmental education and outreach.
The property hasn’t seen fire in over a decade and large loblolly pine and other trees have grown up, shading out the wetland vegetation and altering the hydrological function. In 2020, SCNPS was awarded a 5-year Conservation Stewardship Program grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to reduce the loblolly pine, combat invasive species, burn, and restore the native groundcover in the uplands.
In December 2020, the first volunteer field day was held at the property. Volunteers cleared the perimeter of the property, put up signage and removed over 10 bags of trash from the site.
While SCNPS grant funding has been made available, it doesn’t cover the complete cost of the restoration. For more information on donating, volunteering, or about the bay itself contact Lisa Lord, Kingsburg Bay Chair, [email protected]