News and Happenings

Willdlife-Friendly Landscapes

Check out our latest episode of Learning with Lee and learn about Kiawah Island's native plants and how they encourage wildlife within our island landscapes.

Land Preservation Specialist & Digital Content Specialist

The Kiawah Conservancy seeks candidates for the position of Land Preservation Specialist and Digital Content Specialist.

Learn more about the Land Preservation Specialist positoin and application process here.

Learn more about the Digital Content Specialist positoin and application process here.

Please review the requirements and follow the application instructions. No phone calls, please.

Kiawah's Wildlife Species Need Your Help Now!

Bobcats are one of the most unique species on Kiawah Island and catching a glimpse of one is on the bucket list of almost every Kiawah resident and visitor alike. Unfortunately, in recent years, the use of anticoagulant rodenticides has caused an increase in bobcat deaths. In recent testing additional willdife species (five raccoons and one opossum) also tested positive for anticoagulant rodenticides in their system. This new eidence confirms the dangers and impacts to Kiawah's wildlife.

How can you help save Kiawah's bobcats? All Kiawah property owners are encouraged to take the pledge to stop using antigoagulant rodenticides on their property and become a Bobcat Guardian today. Visit www.savekiawahbobcats.com to learn more and take the pledge today.

See the lists of pest control providers that have and have NOT signed the Bobcat Guardian Provider Pledge on our Wildlife Perservation Efforts page.

 

 

 

Yaupon Holly

Check out our latest episode of Learning with Lee and learn all about Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria). Did you know yaupon hollies can be found growing naturally in the maritime forest and salt shrub thicket? Tune in at 3pm today and learn all about this Kiawah native.

September 15, 2020

The Kiawah Conservancy’s Position Statement on the Use of Anticoagulant Rodenticides on Kiawah Island
 

The Issue and Current Understanding

The Kiawah Conservancy (Conservancy) has been working in concert with the Town of Kiawah Island (TOKI) concerning the use of anticoagulant rodenticides and their deleterious effects on our bobcat population here on Kiawah Island. Not only do these anticoagulants poison our bobcats, but they also poison additional rodent predators such as eagles, owls, hawks, snakes, raccoons, alligators, and other animals.

In 2017 TOKI’s wildlife biologists saw a noticeable increase in bobcat deaths and decrease in bobcat numbers. Recently a number of bobcats found dead were determined to have been killed by anticoagulant rodenticides. We have been able to document that the extensive use of these chemicals was directly responsible for at least seven bobcat deaths between May 2019 and July 2020. Evidence is showing that we now have less than 10 bobcats left on the Island as of September 2020 out of an historic population of 30-35.*

The loss of Kiawah’s bobcats has caused a dynamic change in our ecosystem with one critical effect being the dramatic increase in the deer population. We are seeing an increase in deer-car collisions and an increased risk of the spread of diseases carried by these animals. Also the deer are foraging on vegetation that they do not normally consume. For the first time TOKI has been forced to implement a deer management plan to be carried out in the fall of 2020.

Community Discussion and Recommendations

TOKI’s Environmental Committee and Town Council heard presentations at a number of meetings regarding the significant loss of bobcats and the dramatic effects on Kiawah Island’s ecosystem. After contacting the state of South Carolina’s Pesticide Regulatory Board, it was determined that Kiawah could not ban the use of these harmful chemicals on the Island and the board refused to allow a one-year temporary ban.

Also upon learning about the problem of anticoagulant rodenticides the Conservancy’s Environmental Science Committee formed an Ad Hoc Committee to study their use. After much research and discussion this committee produced two documents: “The Kiawah Conservancy’s Recommended Steps to Control Rodents in Homes on Kiawah Island” and “The Conservancy's Recommendation of Rodenticides to Use as a Last Resort in IPM (Integrated Pest Management)”.

The elimination of anticoagulant rodenticides on Kiawah is widely supported by Island entities (TOKI, Kiawah Island Community Association, Kiawah Partners, Kiawah Island Architectural Review Board, and Kiawah Island Golf Resort), businesses, homeowners, and rental companies. The Coastal Conservation League and others off island support the elimination of these poisons on Kiawah.

Kiawah Conservancy Position

The Conservancy fully supports the elimination of anticoagulant rodenticides on Kiawah Island. It is imperative that we ban the use of these harmful chemicals as soon as possible. The Conservancy will promote the best practices to help alleviate the problems we are seeing. The Kiawah Conservancy will use all possible outlets including our social media platforms to educate the public, stakeholders, Island entities, homeowners, real estate and rental companies, and pesticide providers on this issue.

 * Reference: TOKI email (August 13, 2020) "Bobcat News - Temporary SGA Ban Denied"

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Terrestrial Invertebrates and Plants on the Dune System of Kiawah Island

Join us for Conservation Matters: Terrestrial Invertebrates and Plants on the Dune System of Kiawah Island with Dr. Eric McElroy

WATCH NOW

Watch and learn as Dr Eric McElroy from the College of Charleston shares his fascinating research results from his 2019 study of Terrestrial Invertebrates and Plants on the Dune System of Kiawah Island. Plants provide stability, protection, and biodiversity on the dunes and are important for the ecological health of Kiawah Island. It is interesting that although the dunes may appear similar when viewing from the beach, there are significant differences in the specific survey areas.

Naturally Kiawah Pathways Tours

Discover stories unique to Kiawah as you enjoy our Naturally Kiawah Pathways tours through the free TravelStorys app.

Take a virtual Naturally Kiawah Pathways tour today to explore and learn about the habitats, wildlife, and history of Kiawah Island from the comfort of your home. There are eight exciting options to choose from:

Kiawah Paddling
Beach Scavenger Hunt
Kiawahs' Ponds: A Wildlife Wonderland
Western Kiawah Island
Central Kiawah Island
Eastern Kiawah Island
Kiawah Photography
The Preserve

Combined together, the tours will take you from the far eastern sections of the Island to Freshfields Village in the west and from the beach to the Kiawah River.

Downloading the TravelStorys App:

1. Download the TravelStorys app on the App Store or Google Play and follow the prompts.
2. Allow “notifications” to take advantage of using the self-guided GPS-activated component when accessing the tours in-person while on Kiawah.
3. Select one of the tours and download it by touching the down arrow at the bottom of the screen.

       

Take A Virtual Tour:

1. After downloading and opening your selected tour, select “Map” to see different points of interest on the map.
2. Select one of the points of interest to listen to commentary and see an accompanying photo slideshow.
3. Continue to select different points on the map to hear about other sights.

Take A Self-Guided GPS Activated Tour (walk, bike, or paddle):

1. Turn on the tour on your mobile device.
2. Go to one of the points of interest located on the tour.
3. Commentary along with a photo slideshow will automatically begin as you approach each featured point of interest.
4. Proceed to the next point of interest to hear new commentary.

 

Kiawah's Butterflies

Check out our latest episode of Learning with Lee and learn all about some of Kiawah's most colorful creatures... Butterflies!

 
Meet Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (LMMN) Executive Director Lauren Rust and learn how the LMMN is working to protect marine mammals around the Lowcountry through science, education, and conservation. The LMMN provides a variety of educational programs throughout the Charleston area including the Kiawah Island Dolphin Education Program.