What is the Sullivan’s Island Accreted Land and Maritime Forest?

Unique among barrier islands, Sullivan’s Island’s beach is growing  (accreting) instead of eroding, and supports a 190-acre “successional Maritime Forest,” consisting of dune grasses, flowers and shrubs closest to Breach Inlet and a robust maritime forest towards Fort Moultrie.

In 1991, the Town had the foresight to put this land into a deed-restricted land trust, owned by all Sullivan’s Islanders, so that it could be preserved in its natural state for the benefit, enjoyment and education of islanders and the public at large. This incredible gift from Mother Nature is home to many species of flora and fauna, including nesting sea turtles, butterflies, year-round and migratory birds, and the Sullivan’s Island Bird Banding Station. The diversity of trees, shrubs and wetlands is essential for birds, insects and other species to flourish. Each year, thousands of birds and Monarch butterflies stopover on SI to rest and re-nourish as they make their arduous round-trip journey between their northern summer homes and the tropics.

Hurricane Protection

As important, this land left in its natural state provides critical protection from our #1 threat to the island: hurricane storm surge. It provides the island with a source of incomparable community-wide resilience in the face of rising sea level and more frequent and damaging storms. The height, density, coverage and type of vegetation forms a “vegetative wall” to prevent devastating storm surge from penetrating inland.

The roots of the trees and shrubs provide stability to our barrier island, protecting us from damaging erosion, and act as powerful water pumps to absorb standing water that protects us from flooding and mosquito-borne illness.

Photo Courtesy: Station 28.5 Photography