Reserve closed

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve is currently undergoing a major overhaul along its creek bank with a stabilization project causing the park to close to the public until Sept. 6.

The creek bank, which received damage during the flood that occurred last December is going through stabilization to prevent anymore erosion from taking place.

Tracy Sells, park coordinator at Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve, said the bank stabilization project is being funded by a grant as well as money from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

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“What we are doing is an EWP bank stabilization,” Sells said. “The funds were provided by the National Conservation Resource Service and the Tribe. It’s part of the stimulus grant money we received. We were really helped out a lot by state conservationist Dr. William Puckett. He really help get this thing together.”

The funds that Magnolia Branch received from the National Conservation Resource Service total $284, 250 with the Tribe adding in the rest of the funds needed to complete the funding at $542, 500.

Sells said the project is allowing the staff at Magnolia Branch to add more availability to the shore next to the creek.

“We are sloping out the bank and adding a platform to make the creek more accessible for people,” Sells said. “We are working to keep what beach we have because of how hard the flood hit us.”

Along with the bank stabilization project and swimming platform, there are several other plans that are in store for Poarch’s wildlife reserve.

Billy Smith, general manager of Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve, said there is a space being set out for entertainment purposes.

“We are going to add an open area pavilion for entertainment,” Smith said. “The platform we are adding is going to be six feet by 35 feet, and will allow senior citizens to get closer to the water.”

One of the big plans that will be taking place in the near future is a box turtle habitat.

A $20,000 grant from the NRCS and United States Department of Agriculture has been approved for Magnolia Branch to receive the project.

Sells said the project will not only open a habitat, but be used for educational purposes.

“What we are using the grant for is a habitat for box turtles,” Sells said. “We can not only have the habitat, but we will be able to use it for educational purposes like bringing out the younger school students. Hopefully, after the initial $20,000, we will get more to perform a pilot study as well.”

Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve will reopen to the public on Sept. 6. For more information contact the staff at 446-3423.

Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve is closed to the pubic until Sept. 6, while crews work to stabilize the bank. | Photo by Chandler Myers