Save the Date:  Saturday, April 22, 2017  

"Annual Spring Beach Sweep" to celebrate Earth Day.

The Conservancy and the Haig Point Environmental Committee will again partner this year to celebrate this annual event.  More information to come.




Annual Update 2017

January 2017






Spring Beach Sweep on Daufuskie

Saturday, April 23, 2016 3:00 p.m.




Annual Beach Sweep 2014

January 26, 2015


From hosting popular educational presentations to piloting recycling projects to organizing annual beach sweeps, the Conservancy had a very productive year!

















Annual Beach Sweep 2014

September 20, 2014

The Daufuskie Island Conservancy and The Haig Point Environmental Committee organized a local Beach Sweep for Daufuskie Island on Saturday, September 20, 2014. The overcast sky and moderate temperature made for a perfect day to hunt for litter. Fourty three volunteers scoured five plus miles of beachfront and filled fifty two trash bags. This adds up to 280 pounds of debris cleared from our beaches!! Most notable, over 200 pieces of wood and construction materials were hauled in five trailer loads to the county dump. Most interesting items, a large floating dock box, three large pieces of a boat and a large empty sandbag. Most prized item, a Great White Shark Tooth.

Thank you to our sponsors, Haig Point, Melrose on the Beach and Bloody Point
Eagle's Nest, who provided delicious food and beverages to get everyone started.

Thank you to our haulers, Eddie and Sharyn Havaird, Geoff Brunning, Chase and
Rachel Allen, who made numerous trips to the dump with construction debris.

Thank you to Eileen Pojednic and Yvonne Clemons for organizing the event, to
Rachel Allen for coordinating the Adopt A Road supplies, to Leanne Coulter for taking
the photos and to ALL the Beach Sweep volunteers.

The Annual Beach Sweep, managed by S.C. Sea Grant Consortium in partnership with
S.C. Department of Natural Resources, is the largest one-day litter cleanup of South
Carolina's beaches and waterways. Beach Sweep/River Sweep has been an annual event
for South Carolina since 1988, and it is held in conjunction with The Ocean
Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which involved over 560,000 volunteers in
over 97 countries in 2012.



Barge Landing Road Clean Up

May 3, 2014

Thank you all for a great clean up today! And many, many thanks to Sharon for the trailer! 750 cans plus Eileen and Len's 75 to 100 = about 850 CANS!! We also picked up 100 or so glass and plastic bottles, sheet rock, styrofoam insulation, scrap wood, golf cart parts and a chair. Karen made sure that everything was sorted out. Maybe someday we'll find a way to stop the litter bugs... Regarding reptiles, I found a baby Ring-Necked Snake at the community dump. Laura saw a Skink (Ground or Broad-Headed??) And I think Lorie's snake was a COPPERHEAD! Yikes!



Proposal for Daufuskie Island Solid Waste Center

February 17, 2014

The Issue

Daufuskie Island currently has no island-wide center to process residential and commercial solid waste and to facilitate recycling. As a result, multiple entities including the County are responsible for collecting and barging trash over to Hilton Head and surrounding areas. Because there is no island wide recycling program, recyclable materials outside of the Haig Point community end up in landfills. The lack of a centralized waste service has also contributed to island "dumping," creating aesthetic and environmental problems for the island.

The Daufuskie Island Conservancy, representing various island residents, businesses and groups, proposes a consolidated solid waste center as recommended in the Integrated Services Study prepared by Joyce Engineering. One potential site (the former Melrose Transfer Station, now owned by Dolphin Shared Management) meets DHEC waste consolidation permitting requirements.


Why This Center is Needed

  • The Center will offer a recycling service to all island residents and businesses.
  • Consolidating waste processing will save money for both the County and island entities.
  • Consistent with recommendations in both the 1985 and 2010 Daufuskie Island Plans, consolidation of an island waste infrastructure is an important step toward sustainability
  • The Center will minimize island dumping.

What Will Be The Financial Impact Of This Center?

  • By consolidating waste removal for all island entities, we will achieve "economies of scale" and significantly reduce the number of barge trips for the county and for business entities.
  • Recyclable items will no longer end up in landfills and will actually generate revenue.
  • Beaufort County will not have to build/staff/service its own facility, thus conserving funds as well as preserving land for other purposes.

What Is Needed From Beaufort County?

We respectfully request the Beaufort County Council and staff to 1) Create a task force of waste management professionals and key Daufuskie Island stakeholders to fully evaluate the Integrated Services Study prepared by Joyce Engineering; and 2) Review and modify, as necessary, solid waste ordinances to reflect the unique requirements of Daufuskie Island, a bridge-less island.
For additional information please contact Laura Winholt, President, Daufuskie Island Conservancy, at 843-842-5990 or



Three Dead Dolphins in Three Weeks

December 18, 2013

In the past three weeks there have been three dead dolphins beached on Daufuskie Island. This is a great concern and is part of a greater problem that is being closely followed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The dead dolphins we are seeing in South Carolina are considered part of a larger die -off of bottlenose dolphins along the east coast of the U. S. from New York to Florida.  Details of this situation have been provided to us by NOAA.  The event began in June/July in New York and has slowly progressed  south  as the coastal migratory group of dolphins move south.  To date there have been approximately  1,000 mortalities along the east coast since July, 48 of those occurring in South Carolina since October 17 when we first started  seeing animals here.  Currently in South Carolina we have had 9 strandings in the last 8 days,confined to Charleston and south. Our total stands  at 103 for the year, 99 of these being bottlenose dolphins, which is the highest number  of dolphins we have has historically. Over 90%  of the dolphins tested have been positive for morbillivirus.  As many of the dolphins do not make it to shore after they die at sea, these numbers are a minimum of the total number of dolphins probably affected. At this time we have no reason to believe that the virus has effected local resident, estuarine dolphins, just the coastal migratory stock.

The cause of of mortality is believed to be from morbillivirus, a virus  similar to canine distemper and measles,  that attacks the respiratory system causing pneumonia and creating an avenue for other diseases such as brucellosis and meningitis in a weakened immune system state.  Morbillivirus is not transmitted to humans, but because other diseases can latch on, such as brucella, the public is cautioned from approaching any dead or live animals on the beach as some of these other diseases can be transmitted to humans.
In South Carolina, NOAA expects the event to slow down  somewhat in the next few weeks, with a resurgence in the spring as the migratory stock moves back north.  This would be similar to what happened  25 years ago when morbillivirus  caused about 750 dolphin mortalities from New York to Florida.  

Should you learn of a dolphin stranded on the shore of Daufuskie Island you can call locally to Chuck Henry (785-7466) or the NOAA Stranding Pager (843) 820-0612.  Again  you are requested not to touch the animal.



Unusual Mortality for Bottlenose Dolphin This Year

November 13, 2013

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (as amended), an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) has been declared for bottlenose dolphins along the Atlantic coast from early July 2013 through the present. Elevated strandings of bottlenose dolphins have occurred in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

All age classes of bottlenose dolphins are involved and strandings range from a few live animals to mostly dead animals with many very decomposed. Many dolphins have presented with lesions on their skin, mouth, joints, or lungs.

More information on this story is available here.



Protect the Wood Duck

September 19, 2013

Box applications available: Deadline Nov. 1

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the South Carolina State Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and the South Carolina Department of Corrections, will continue the construction and distribution of wood duck boxes this winter. Applications are available online here and will be accepted until November 1, 2013.

Approximately 1,000 boxes will be available for distribution. Ducks Unlimited has contributed approximately 50% of the cost for construction and distribution and The Wateree Correctional Institute will assemble the predator shields and construct the boxes. Each unit will consist of a treated pole, a predator shield and assembled box.

The wood duck is the most important waterfowl species in SC and is the only duck that breeding habitat can be managed effectively throughout all geographic regions of the state. The Project supplements natural production in tree cavities of forested wetlands by providing artificial nesting sites. Fewer natural cavities are available today because of the impacts of human activity upon bottomland hardwoods.

Private land owners wishing to obtain wood duck boxes can download an application by visiting the above link. For additional information contact the Statewide Wood Duck Box Project at (843) 844-8957. Up to 5 boxes per applicant (or property) will be available for distribution throughout the State. The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2013.

The statewide project for construction and distribution of nest box units to requesting landowners began in 1982. Since 1982, over 32,000 nest box units have been issued to over 4,300 cooperators. The project provides nest boxes, poles and predator guards to landowners having suitable wood duck production and brood-rearing habitat.

Download application and more info at



A Daufuskie "Truckload"

August 21, 2013

Another BIG high five to Trash Busters Mike and Joanne Loftus! This is a photo of debris they recently removed from the Bloody Point Beach. They LOVE Daufuskie Island!








Trash Buster Summer

August 13, 2013

A BIG high five to Trash Busters Camille, Brigitte and Thomas Lueder who were visiting Daufuskie from Atlanta this summer. Over a three week period they collected 5 trash can size bags of bottles, cans and miscellaneous trash on Daufuskie Island roads in the historic district. WAY TO GO!!










Spidey Sense

August 5, 2013

Over 40 people attended the Conservancy's Educational Event at Marshside Mama's. We started with a delicious light fare dinner prepared by Beth Shipman and great waitress service by Lisa Kline. Marvin gave an hour photo presentation about the different types of spiders and where we can find them on Daufuskie. He answered many questions and reminded everyone to shake out their shoes before sticking your feet inside. We learned about the three most venomous spiders on the island and how to identify them. Next he led a search for spiders using flashlights. Shine a flashlight in the eyes of the wolf spider and get back a blue gold light reflection. Follow the light beam and there is the spider. The brighter the reflection, the larger the spider! Fun evening for kids of all ages!



TerraCycle Fundraising Success

June 27, 2013

TerraCycle is a company that works to “eliminate the idea of waste” by creating national recycling systems for non-recyclables or hard to recycle items. They “upcycle” these items into a variety of products or formulate into new reusable materials. The Conservancy participates by collecting plastic cups with a #6 inside the recycle symbol, cups/lids from dairy products like yogurt, hummus, soft plastic packaging from cheese products like shredded cheeses. Laptops and computer keyboards/mice are also collected. In 2012, the Conservancy earned about $2,500 with this program.



Resort could face legal action after disturbance of an endangered bird species nesting ground

By Matt McNabb —
Courtesy of The Island Packet

June 6, 2013

Maintenance workers at the Melrose on the Beach resort disturbed a rookery for wood storks and other birds while clearing brush last month.

While the brush-clearing didn't actually damage the rookery -- located on two small islands in a lagoon near the resort buildings -- the incursion into the area may have interrupted the bird's nesting, according to Catherine Tillman, the resort's communications director.

Tillman said some wood storks left the area, exposing several nests to the elements, which could cause eggs not to hatch.

The incident occurred a day after the resort issued a statement saying it was committed to protecting the rookery.

Tillman said the resort's owner, the Pelorus Group,and managing partner JT Bramlette were "sick that this has happened" and were working with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a management plan for the area.

The resort still might face legal action.

Morgan Wolf, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, visited the rookery May 31 to survey the impact of the brush-clearing. She said it's not yet clear how much the brush-clearing affected nesting.

"We're going to mine through the data and see how the eggs were affected and if they were in the nests," she said. "It's not clear yet whether the storks were incubating eggs or not, but at this point in time biologically, it's likely that they were."

Wolf said she would turn over the results of her preliminary investigation to the Fish and Wildlife Service's law enforcement division. The division and the U.S. Justice Department will decide whether to pursue legal action.

The resort could be fined or required to correct the problem, Wolf said.

Despite the mishap, Daufuskie Island Conservancy president Laura Winholt said she was "convinced JT (Bramlette) is committed to protecting the rookery" after the conservancy met with him Wednesday.

"I cannot reinforce enough how horrible JT felt," Winholt said. "It appears to just be a very unfortunate miscommunication and an error. They seem committed to taking future steps to protect the rookery."

Winholt said the conservancy and resort have a presentation planned June 12, which will take place after Bramlette meets with DNR and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

DNR biologist Christy Hand, who investigated the impact the brush-clearing had on the rookery with Wolf, will discuss the rookery during the event.

In December, resort workers damaged the rookery while landscaping nearby, but an investigation by the Beaufort County Code Enforcement Office determined the removal of vegetation there was legal.

There were no state or federal sanctions in that case because birds were not present when the vegetation was removed.

At the time, Bramlette was not in charge of the resort, Tillman said. Instead, an equity partner who had since moved on to a property in Atlanta, was in charge. She added that Bramlette "wants to protect the rookery" from further harm.

"We completely understand why locals were upset and the passion they have for the area," she said. "We are looking forward to collaborating with them to protect this beautiful area."


Big Turnout for Daufuskie Island Conservancy’s 2013 Earth Day Event

by Catherine Tillman

April 16, 2013

The Daufuskie Island Conservancy celebrated Earth Day at an event held April 16, 2013 at the Haig Point clubhouse. Mother Earth, in turn, provided a glorious spring evening for the Conservancy’s annual event. Sponsors, volunteers from the Conservancy, and the Haig Point staff all came together to produce a wonderful evening of camaraderie for ninety-eight attendees.

The evening got started as volunteer Deb Smith “framed” arriving guests in a nature photo booth outside the clubhouse. Inside, guests enjoyed cocktails as they perused a room filled with silent auction items. Golf and tennis outings, kayak tours, movie tickets, gift certificates for dining, paintings from local artists, personal care items, and home accessories and garden tools were among the donations contributed by fifty local residents and area businesses.

A lowcountry dinner followed the cocktail party and featured author Marvin Bouknight. A professional naturalist and wildlife photographer, Bouknight entertained and educated the audience with fascinating facts and brilliant photos from his recently published book, South Carolina’s Lowcountry…Naturally. The native South Carolinian kept the audience chuckling as he described everything from unusual uses for Spanish Moss (hemorrhoid cream!) to making a case for armadillos (they eat fire ants). His passion for his profession was obvious; what was less obvious was the patience required to snap some of the amazing photographs he shared. “It helps to know the habits of the animals you’re trying to photograph,” he said, adding that many amateur photographs give up too early when they start shooting wildlife. “You have to learn the equipment, but you also have to learn about the animal in front of your lens!”

Sponsors who made the event possible included Silver Sponsors AllCare Tree, Dulany Industries, Inc., Lindsey and Donald Peterik; Bronze Sponsors were Daufuskie Designs, i2 Recycle, Daufuskie Realty Inc./ Tom Richardson, The Greenery, Carolina Termite and Pest Control, Handyman to the Rescue, Daufuskie Rental Group, Osprey Construction, and Scurry Family Foundation.

Thanks to sponsors and silent auction contributions, the Conservancy raised over $8,000.

The money will be used to support major projects for 2013 which include monthly education programs for islanders, recycling and consolidation of waste services, and island clean up. Long-term projects include land acquisition for preservation and conservation, creation of hiking trails, and development of an environmental education center.

Volunteers who gave so generously of their time and talents to make the event such a success included Event Coordinator Yvonne Clemons, Leanne Coulter, Barbara Heenan, Nancy Mulligan Hunter, Karen Opderbeck, Eileen Pojednic, Rich Silver, Deborah Smith, Catherine Tillman, Paul Vogel, and Daufuskie Island Conservancy President, Laura Winholt. Special thanks also to Stuart Thompson of Sparrow Eye Creative for his design services.

View the slideshow from the event here



Daufuskie Islanders Join Together in Island Wide Clean-Up

February 23, 2013

On February 23, 2013, despite rain, 22 volunteers teamed up and spread out to 14 vacant properties located from one end of our beautiful island to the other to pick up broken bottles, empty paint cans, old mattresses and rusted cooking utensils as part of the Conservancy’s project to address decades old residential waste disposal and continuous commercial island dumping.


Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Daufuskie is a bridgeless island. “Trash deposited at the County Dump is removed regularly, but in the past, when no central dump site was available, residents would bury their trash in the woods,” explains Conservancy President Laura Winholt. In an effort to preserve the environment and protect the island ‘s natural beauty, project leader Paul Vogel worked with others to inventory these dump sites on the island many of which are buried deep in the woods.

Volunteers working today were part of the first phase of the Conservancy’s efforts to remove island waste. As part of this effort, Beaufort County’s Solid Waste Department provided additional trash dumpsters at the County site on the island to accommodate the extra debris. The next phase is to raise money and apply for grants to remove large trash such as old cars, boats, and rusted trailers that will require removal with heavy equipment and then barged off the island.


Phase II of the project will involve applying for grants and organizing fundraising events in order to remove larger items such as trashed cars, steel beams, a bus, a boat, concrete pipes, pallets of shingles and rusted trailers that require removal with heavy equipment and will have to be barged off the island.

We look forward to the continued enthusiastic participation of our members and friends.  If you would like to be involved in Phase II please contact Laura Winholt, President, Daufuskie Island Conservancy at



Daufuskie Residents Learn About "Whales of South Carolina"
by Deborah Smith

JANUARY 10, 2013

The Conservancy hosted a standing-room only program featuring Dr. Al Segars, from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, who presented a riveting overview about "Whales of South Carolina." The January 10th presentation to approximately 50 Conservancy members and other guests was held at the Sea Grass Stables in Melrose and included complimentary wine and cheese appetizers.

Dr. Segars, a biologist and veterinarian, shared a series of vivid photos and videos to supplement his talk about several species of whales that visit the South Carolina coast in search of food or to give birth. He particularly focused on the threats and challenges faced by the North Atlantic right whale, an extremely endangered species with only around 350 known to be in existence, and the arduous and frequently high-risk efforts of wildlife and marine officials to protect them.

Dr. Segars explained that the North Atlanta right whale can live 70 years or more, can grown up to 60 feet and weigh 30-40 tons. It got its name because it was the "right"  breed most whalers wanted to hunt for its rich oil and its size. It was hunted almost to extinction, and is now protected by the federal endangered species law. The greatest threat to those still living include getting tangled in commercial fishing lines and getting killed by ship strikes.

Event participants also learned about the sad phenomenon of pilot whale beachings, such as the recent highly publicized case on Hunting Island. In such cases, Dr. Segar said that people should resist the temptation to help the animal or animals, which he said is well-intentioned but potentially dangerous. Instead, he asks people to call DNR officials at 1-800-922-5431 to report the beaching of any whale, dolphin, or turtle.