Invasive Plant Removal Volunteer Opportunity on Sullivan’s Island

The accreted land at Sullivan’s Island is a publicly accessible oceanfront natural area that contains approximately 200 acres of native vegetation. Most of this land is less than 50 years old. In fact, when it was placed in the Lowcountry Open Land Trust in the early 1990s, it was aproximately 120 acres. It is a great example of maritime succession and a wonderful living laboratory to study the flora and fauna accociated with the various habitats found within the maritime zone.

The land stretches over 2 miles along the harbor entrance and ocean from in front of Ft. Moultrie up to just past Station 28. The area along the Station 16 beach path is the deepest and most mature area. It also contains a depressional wetland. The Town applied for and received Charleston County Greenbelt funding for construction of a nature trail in 2013, and in 2015 the first phase of this project became a reality. Looping west off the Station 16 beachpath, the Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail consists of over 2000 feet of paths, boardwalks, viewing platforms and benches designed specifically for nature viewing and outdoor enjoyment.

Unfortunately,  living within this quickly – evolving system, there are several invasive plant species. Chinese tallow has established a strong foothold in our main wetland as well as many surrounding depressions and swales. Chinese wisteria (a rather uncommon double flowering form) has a stranglehold on nearly an acre at the entrance to Station 16 beachpath.  Beautiful, yes, but deadly to what is the best stand of live oaks. There are smaller amounts of others, such as China berry and eleagnus. But a big menace is Chinese privet. It favors the drier wooded areas. We have every stage of it from large seed producing trees to small suckering stands to seedlings…LOTS of seedlings!

So, the primary focus of the volunteer work would be physical removal of invasives, primarily privet with a pointed tip round shovel and wisteria with loppers. Boots would be a good idea, waterproof or otherwise, but there’s dry ground there, too. Long sleeves and pants to combat briars and poison ivy! A secondary focus could be trail maintenance in the form of plant and litter removal, both of which there is minimal need.

Tools required by participants – pointed shovel or loppers or both.

Skills required – none 

Contact Jeff Jackson  at 

Please note in your response the days of the week that often most work best for you, previous experience with invasive removal or pesticide use, and whether you have plant ID, map – reading, or and other skills you feel may be useful on this project.

SI Trail