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Ribbon cutting held for the Crooked Creek Wildlife Refuge

  • 15 November 2018
  • Author: Dan McNiel
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Ribbon cutting held for the Crooked Creek Wildlife Refuge

Multiple types of wildlife will benefit from the Crooked Creek Wildlife Refuge.
A ribbon cutting for it was held at the site near the Marlboro County Jetport on Nov. 8 with various people from the county and surrounding areas.
Hanson Aggregates Marlboro Sand and Gravel site in Bennettsville donated 200 acres of reclaimed mining property to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.
The donated property will be used to provide a natural and controlled habitat, called a rookery, to rehabilitate injured waterfowl.
Dr. Carolyn Prince, chairperson of Marlboro County Council,  felt the rookery would be a valuable asset to the county in many ways. 
One way, she said, is through a natural and controlled environment to give shelter and protection for rescued birds that are out of the hospital but still not ready to fly. 
Another way to use the mining process which left steep fingered islands to be used to offer natural barriers for nesting sites and rest stops for migrating birds where the predators can't reach them. Prince noted the rookery will allow opportunities for a variety of educational experiences for all age groups.
"And lastly as a much-traveled corridor  to our magnificent beaches, we anticipate economic benefits as travelers, bird watchers and curious people like me make the Carolina Waterfowl Rookery a fun destination," she said.
County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn said it was an exciting event.
"This is a great thing and is also a testament to responsible corporate citizens making good things happen in the community," he said.
Scott Dixon, vice president and general manager for Hanson Aggregates Southeast, said a tremendous amount of engineering went into designing it.
"When we finish mining, it doesn't look pretty," he said. "It looks ugly. There is an obligation to put it back into some natural state."
Mining activities at the Airport Mine were completed in 2012. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control requirements said the property must be reclaimed.
Officials said the Airport Mine's deposit was mined using a drag line, which created the long, thin and steep finger islands surrounded by water.
Those finger islands will make habitats for waterfowl due to the inability of predators such as coyotes and foxes to access them.
Jennifer Gordon, director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, said the project had been planned for a long time. 
"We have actually put a lot of effort into this property for various wildlife habitats," she said. "We're really trying to promote and foster all of the wildlife in the area and preserve the natural resources."
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is a non-profit wildlife rescue organization that provides sanctuary, rescue and rehabilitation for wildlife, farmed and exotic animals. The rescue provides care to more than 1,000 birds a year covering close to 40 different wild bird species.
Kerry Gordon, who is responsible for Hanson Aggregates operations in the county, said  Carolina Waterfowl Rescue does a lot of great things.
Those attending had a chance to take a tour of the property in order to see how it was designed for species.
"With this 200 plus acre property, you can imagine the wildlife that is actually going to live here," he said. "It is going to be here for an eternity. We plan on protecting this."
Also during the ribbon cutting, ducks were released.
Jennifer Gordon said they are in the process of getting some of the details worked out with land transfers but hoped to have the refuge opened at some point next year to the public. 
Other future goals for the refuge include birdwatching, nature hiking, and camping.

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