5801 Highway 17 North
Awendaw, SC 29429
Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge was established on December 1, 1997. The purposes for which Waccamaw NWR was established are (1) protect and manage diverse habitat components within an important coastal river ecosystem for the benefit of endangered and threatened species, freshwater and anadromous fish, migratory birds, and forest wildlife, including a wide array of plants and animals associated with bottomland hardwood habitats; and (2) provide compatible wildlife-dependant recreational activities including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation for the of present and future generations.
Located in portions of Horry, Georgetown, and Marion County Waccamaw NWR's acquisition boundary spans over 55,000 acres and includes large sections of the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee Rivers and a small section of the Little Pee Dee River. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is actively acquiring lands within this acquisition boundary from willing sellers and presently refuge lands purchased total just under 9,000 acres. Habitats within Waccamaw NWR*s acquisition boundary include 6,166 acres of upland forest, located primarily on Sandy Island, and the remaining acreage being made up primarily of jurisdictional wetlands. The wetland diversity of this refuge is what sets it apart from most others found along the east coast. Wetland habitats range from historic, broken tidal ricefields, to actively managed ricefields, to black water and alluvial flood plain forested wetlands of the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee Rivers. These tidal freshwater wetlands are some of the most diverse freshwater wetland systems found in North America and they offer many important habitats for migratory birds, fish and resident wildlife. Species such as the swallow-tailed kite, osprey, wood stork, white ibis, prothontary warbler, and many species of waterfowl can be observed on a seasonal basis. Additionally, these wetlands play a critical role in the filtration and storm water retention of the primary drinking water resource for the greater Grand Strand region.
Waccamaw NWR is one of four refuges in the Ace Basin/Cape Romain/Santee/Waccamaw NWR Complex and is presently being administered by Cape Romain NWR. Plans for refuge staffing and the construction of a refuge headquarters/ environmental education center are currently underway.
Map + Directions
Presently, few refuge owned tracts are accessible by car on Waccamaw NWR . The refuge's land acquisition process is very active and tracts offering vehicular access are anticipated to be acquired.