We are so close to raising the $1 million needed to purchase Little Rabbit North, and...
We are only $34,520 away from meeting the Shipley Foundation, Inc. $400,000 Grant Challenge!
There's only 8 days left until the December 12 deadline.
We need your help now to realize our goal!
For mailed donations/pledges, please give ample time to ensure it will be received by Decemeber 12, 2017, and address your mailing to:
80 Kestrel Court
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
For informationon stock donations or to make a doantion/pledge over the phone, contact us at: 843-768-2029.
We are delighted for the opportunity to purchase Little Rabbit North for preservation in perpetuity and we're counting on your help TODAY!
Environmental Significance Little Rabbit North:
Little Rabbit North currently exists in a natural, undisturbed state. The habitat on the property is comprised primarily of maritime forest. It is flanked by narrow bands of salt shrub thicket and surrounded by tidal salt marsh.
Canopy species that are present include live oak, southern magnolia, laurel oak, loblolly pine, slash pine and pignut hickory. These canopy trees are characteristic species found in Kiawah’s maritime forests. The subcanopy is quite diverse. Smaller trees that are found throughout the property include cabbage palmetto, American holly, red bay, and southern red cedar. Additionally, Hercules’ club, sparkleberry, yaupon holly, and wax myrtle are also found throughout the understory. Smaller understory and ground cover plants observed at Little Rabbit North include American beautyberry, prickly pear cactus, and bracken fern. Coral bean is abundant and found throughout the property. Partridge berry, a mat forming ground cover, is also found on the property. The understory of the property varies in density – the center of the property (highest elevation) tends to be more open, while the edges, as one approaches the marsh, are dense. The understory also generally becomes denser as one moves from west to east, across the property. Vines are quite numerous and diverse within the property. Yellow jessamine, muscadine grape, butterfly pea, and poison ivy are all present. Additionally, various catbriers (Smilax sp.) are also present. Spanish moss is found throughout the forest canopy. There are several snags, fallen trees, and stumps on the property. Stumps and logs are often used for denning by bobcats, and snags are heavily utilized by woodpeckers and cavity nesting birds.
The buffers surrounding the edges of the property are comprised of salt shrub thicket habitat. This habitat most commonly exists as thin bands of salt tolerant vegetation that fill the gap between upland maritime forest and adjacent marshlands. Salt shrub thickets are typically found on slightly elevated sites that are only occasionally flooded by high tides. The dominant plant species found within these areas at Little Rabbit North include sea ox-eye, marsh elder, groundsel-tree, and black needlerush. As one moves further toward the marsh (lower elevation), smooth cordgrass is encountered – it is the dominate species in the salt marsh.
Data collected via GPS collars since 2007 indicates that the property is regularly utilized by bobcats. The Town of Kiawah Island’s “Bobcat Management Guidelines” (2014) delineates two nearby “Important Bobcat Areas,” used primarily for daytime resting cover, that are adjacent to the property. The salt shrub thicket habitat that forms the perimeter of Rabbit North provides key resting and movement habitat for bobcats. The property also likely provides habitat for additional mammals, including white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, and rodents. Year-round avian species that characteristically utilize maritime forest and shrub thicket habitat include: northern cardinal, Carolina wren, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, red-shouldered hawk, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, American crow, fish crow, and brown thrasher. Winter species include yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, hermit thrush, gray catbird, and whitethroated sparrow. Summer avian species include painted bunting, blue-gray gnatcatcher and Chuckwill’s-widow. Also, during spring and fall, several species of neotropical migrants including tanagers, orioles, warblers, vireos, and flycatchers will use salt shrub thicket habitat and nearby uplands to rest and feed during migration.
The shrub thicket habitats surrounding Rabbit North also provide important foraging habitat for monarch butterflies, a US Fish and Wildlife Service federally listed “At-Risk Species.” Groundsel-tree is found throughout the marsh edges. Its fall blooms are a critical food source for migrating monarchs and those that overwinter along the South Carolina coast.
In addition to monarch butterflies, other “listed” species that utilize habitat such as that found at Little Rabbit North include: eastern diamondback rattlesnake (ARS), island glass lizard (DNR), painted bunting (DNR) and tri-colored bat (ARS, DNR).
Little Rabbit North provides a significant natural buffer adjacent to the Kiawah Island Parkway, the adjacent bicycle path and development at Oyster Rake. Through the conservation of this parcel in its natural state, an area of green space will forever be protected in an area highly used by the Kiawah Island community, visitors, recreational cyclists, joggers, and walkers. This project also allows for the preservation of critical maritime strand habitats in an area of localized development, providing a relatively natural wildlife habitat that will aid in sustaining local bird, mammal, and reptile populations. Providing such areas of habitat will allow residents and visitors of Kiawah Island to continue their enjoyment of wildlife viewing. Additionally, conservation of marsh buffers across a property that has significant development rights (up to 19 residential units and commercial allowances) will sustain natural vegetation that filters runoff from the surrounding area, protecting water quality of the adjacent marsh and associated tidal creeks.