Camp Hall successfully completes Phase 1 of its wetland-restoration project
When Camp Hall broke ground in 2018, a big part of its guiding principles was a commitment to preserving and restoring the local environment and natural resources. And earlier this year, the environmentally friendly industrial park reached a proud milestone in its eco-focused efforts: the completion of the first phase of the wetland-restoration initiative it has mounted near its campus in the Charleston, South Carolina, region.
A successful first stage
Wetland restoration — defined by the EPA as “the manipulation of a former or degraded wetland’s physical, chemical or biological characteristics to return its natural functions” — involves the rebuilding of former wetlands (known as “re-establishment”) and the repair of a wetland’s degraded functions (known as rehabilitation”). And at Camp Hall, initial wetland-restoration goals covered a total of approximately 365 acres that had been impacted by years of intensive tree farming … and the project’s scope has only grown since.
The Camp Hall wetland-restoration process’s recently completed initial phase — the first of two — encompassed approximately 280 acres on the north side of Autonomous Drive, one of the main thoroughfares through the next-generation commerce park. Phase 1 involved the planting of approximately 150,000 tree seedlings, including six different species of native hardwoods. (This phase’s successful completion follows Camp Hall’s milestone celebration in early 2021 of having planted 80,000 oak seedlings on 164 acres of the commerce park’s property.)
So far, Phase 1 appears to have been a huge success.
“Santee Cooper’s wetland consultant, Terracon, conducted the first required monitoring assessment of this initial phase, and the results were very positive,” said William Johnson, Supervisor of Forestry and Undeveloped Land at Santee Cooper, the state-owned electric utility that owns and is developing Camp Hall.
Issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Santee Cooper’s mitigation permit for the Camp Hall property requires annual monitoring for five years to make sure the wetland is adequately restored.
The Phase 1 site’s reclamation includes both planted seedlings and naturally growing native grasses, forbs and seedlings suited to the location. According to Johnson, the survival rate of the seedlings planted during Phase 1 is favorable, and their overall health is above average for their early stage of growth. The survey results also demonstrated that the water surface flow in the wetlands has been improved.
Moving on to Phase 2
Meanwhile, work continues at the wetland-restoration project’s Phase 2 site, which encompasses approximately 200 acres on the south side of Autonomous Drive. Here, one of the initial steps in the process — the harvesting of planted pine trees — was recently completed.
“The next step is to prepare the site next summer with an herbicide application, followed later in the year with leveling the old pine beds,” Johnson said.
Phase 2 will also see about 110,000 hardwood seedlings planted in the winter of 2023. Once completed, the full reclamation project is expected to result in the restoration of approximately 480 acres of wetlands, along with a total of 1,400 acres of South Carolina wetland preservation, all intermingled with development parcels and infrastructure corridors at Camp Hall.
The advantages of wetland preservation are plentiful. Among them, wetlands provide important habitat and food sources for animals — and at Camp Hall, the beneficiaries include white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkeys and several bird species, just to name a few. Restoration also enhances the biological and ecological diversity of the site, helping ensure the area thrives for generations to come.
In addition to the wetland-restoration project, Santee Cooper is creating more than 15 miles of multi-use trail system at Camp Hall that will provide a place for the local workforce to walk, run and bike. Further, a “Pollinator Pathway” completed in recent years is already blooming for birds, bees and butterflies.
To see all the benefits that next-generation commerce park Camp Hall can provide to support your business’s needs, visit the Camp Hall website. To learn more about the availability of Charleston-area industrial property for your business plans, view Camp Hall’s available sites. And if you have any questions at all about the master-planned commerce park and the commercial property services it offers, don’t hesitate to contact Camp Hall today.