- The ACE Basin represents one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems remaining on the Atlantic coast. The refuge is part of the ACE Basin Project, a flagship project of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The USFWS, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and private landowners have joined in an effort to preserve and enhance the 350,000 acre ACE Basin area. Portions of the refuge are within the buffer zone of a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The refuge has two separate units, one along the Edisto River and the other along the Combahee River. Presently at 11,019 acres, the refuge may encompass 18,000 acres upon completion of additional purchases.
From the early 1700's to mid 1800's, much of the ACE Basin was home to large plantations owned by a small number of individuals who managed their wetlands primarily to grow rice. After the rice culture declined in the late 1800's, wealthy sportsmen purchased many of these plantations as hunting retreats. The new owners successfully managed the former rice fields and adjacent upland estates for a wide range of wildlife.
The enormous natural values found on the refuge today are still here because past private landowners tended the area so wisely. Undeveloped and unpolluted, the habitat remains diverse and extremely productive. Part of the historical values of the ACE Basin were also protected. The refuge office, a former rice plantation house built in 1828, is one of only three antebellum mansions that survived the civil war in the ACE Basin area. Former owners ensured it would be preserved by placing it on the National Register of Historical Places.
Recreation - Opportunities for public use include hiking the nature trails, deer hunting, waterfowl hunting, and photography.
Climate - South Carolina generally has a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm, humid summers. Thunderstorms are possible throughout the year but most common in the spring and summer. Tropical storms occasionally strike the coast during the hurricane season.
ACE Basin is located 25 miles south of Charleston. Take U.S. Hwy. 17 to S.C. Hwy. 174, follow S.C. 174 through Adams Run, and turn right at the flashing caution light on to Willtown Road. The Refuge entrance road is two miles from this intersection.