Pappas Island

Eight-Year Effort Results in Permanent Protection of Coastal South Carolina’s Pappas Island

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (June 6, 2023)—The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today announced that Pappas Island is now fully and permanently protected as part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Protection of the 125-acre coastal island, once at risk for development, follows an eight-year, multi-step effort by the Service and the Open Space Institute (OSI).

The Service and OSI have worked together since 2015 to develop and implement a conservation strategy to protect Pappas Island. As part of that plan, OSI purchased the island property totaling 125 acres in two parts: a 105-acre portion in 2016 and additional 20 acres in 2022. OSI donated the 105-acre portion to the Service in 2017, and has just completed donation of the second 20-acre portion, as additions to the Refuge.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is grateful for the partnership with Open Space Institute and the preservation of Pappas Island,” said Sarah Dawsey, refuge manager of Cape Romain. “This donation completes the island protection, not only providing critically important maritime forest and saltmarsh habitat for a variety of species but also helping protect the existing barrier islands from light pollution that can have detrimental disorientation impacts to adult and hatchling sea turtles.”

“The Open Space Institute is proud to have worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect, forever, the entirety of Pappas Island,” said Nate Berry, OSI’s chief land protection officer. “Pappas Island provides a haven for threatened and rare wildlife and protects inland communities against some of the impacts of intensifying storms and rising ocean levels. The island will be a tremendous asset to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the many species that call it home.”

What You Can Do

Donate to support OSI’s work

Become a part of our mission to safeguard at-risk places through your tax-deductible gift.


Subscribe to our newsletter

We get in touch once a month with our most important news, stories, and updates.