Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary

Property Location

Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Latitude: 32.7836  Longitude:-79.889
County: Charleston


Property Type: Seabird Sanctuaries

Hours of Operation

March 15 through October 15 the area is closed to all landing including the intertidal zone between low and high tide waterlines.

October 16 through March 14 landing is allowed only in the intertidal zone between low and high tide waterlines; no access to dry sand.

No dogs allowed.

No camping.


Activities / Facilities

Important Bird Area Nature Viewing

Property Description

Photograph of Crab Bank HP

Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary is located at the mouth of Shem Creek in Charleston Harbor. Initially it formed as a spoil area for the deepening of Shem Creek, and seabird nesting was first documented on Crab Bank in 1979. It remained relatively stable until recent years when it has undergone severe erosion. Presently, only a small portion of Crab Bank is visible at high tides, and this is unlikely to support nesting. However, during low tides Crab Bank remains an important feeding and resting area for seabirds and shorebirds.

In the past, Crab Bank supported nesting brown pelicans, royal terns, black skimmers, gull-billed terns, sandwich terns, laughing gulls, American oystercatchers, and willets making it critically important to SC's seabirds and shorebirds. Crab Bank also highly benefited the local ecotourism economy by providing excellent opportunities to view nesting seabirds and shorebirds. For these important reasons, SCDNR has partnered with local environmental groups to raise funds to support rebuilding Crab Bank from the dredge material secured in the deepening of Charleston Harbor.

Also, Crab Bank is designated an "Important Bird Area" in South Carolina by Birdlife International and the National Audubon Society. Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identify sites which provide vital habitat to at risk bird species.