SANTEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 2125 Fort Watson Road Summerton, South Carolina 29148
Santee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1942 to alleviate the loss of natural waterfowl and wildlife habitat caused by the construction of hydro-electric projects on the Santee and Cooper Rivers. Stretching for eighteen miles along the northern shore of Lake Marion, the refuge protects 15,095 acres in four different units (Bluff, Dingle Pond, Pine Island, and Cuddo) within the upper coastal plain region of Clarendon County, South Carolina.
From open waters to closed hardwood canopies - from freshwater marshes to cultivated fields - from cypress swamps to upland pines - and practically everything in between - Santee has them all. Since the key to wildlife diversity is habitat diversity, it's easy to understand why so many different species call this refuge home.
Significant waterfowl concentrations winter on the refuge as do a number of other birds of interest. Santee National Wildlife Refuge over-winters the largest group of Canada geese belonging to the Southern James Bay population in the State. Nesting bald eagles and an abundance of osprey are evident along with several other birds of prey.
Birds are not the only residents of Santee Refuge. White-tailed deer, wild turkey and other woodland creatures live alongside raccoons, alligators and other reptiles and amphibians found around the ponds and marshes.
Unique natural and cultural resources found on the refuge include a Carolina Bay and the Santee Indian Mound (used as both a ceremonial and burial mound). British troops erected Fort Watson atop the mound during the Revolutionary War only to have it taken by Francis Marion's colonial troops in April of 1781.