Wastewater treatment on Edisto Island is primarily achieved through on-site wastewater treatment systems, also known as septic systems, or septic tanks. These septic systems require routine maintenance and repairs in order to function properly.  The Edisto Island Open Land Trust recognized that some of our island’s residents may not be able to afford the costs of routine maintenance. So we applied for funding from a new grant, the Healthy Harbors fund, through the Coastal Community Foundation and we were awarded funding in 2022 and 2023. (We are currently applying to the the EPA’s Section 319 Grant Program for additional funding to extend the life of the program out to mid-2026. Final approval still pending.) We are now seeking residents who could benefit from our new Septic Assistance Program.

The program offers opportunities for free septic system inspections and pump outs, as well as the possibility of a replacement system.  Residents who could use the help simply need to complete this online or printable form, and submit it to EIOLT. Please call the land trust office at 843-869-9004 if you have questions.

Why is this important?

The waterways on and around Edisto Island are affected by pollution from a variety of sources. There are currently 25 waterways in the area that are listed as impaired for one or more pollutants, including fecal coliform bacteria (11), enterococcus bacteria (4), turbidity (10), dissolved oxygen (1), ammonia (1), and copper (1).

The primary pollutant of concern across these sub-watersheds is bacteria (measured by the levels of enterococcus and fecal coliform), that can result from both natural (e.g. wildlife) and human-influenced (e.g., pets, septic systems) sources. High levels of bacteria in local waterways have resulted in the closure of shellfish beds, which is a major impediment to local traditions and way of life, as well as an economic hardship for some.

A properly maintained and properly functioning septic systems should not transmit bacteria to receiving water bodies. DHEC recommends inspecting septic systems every 2 years  Many of the septic systems on Edisto are aging, and may be located in areas where conditions aren’t optimal for infiltration or pollution reduction.

This program is the beginning of a larger project to help clean up our waterways.  For some residents, education will be needed to ensure proper septic management. For others, particularly those with financial limitations who are unable to secure County support for septic upgrades, alternative funding sources are necessary. Through this grant from the Coastal Community Foundation (and we hope Section 319 as well), EIOLT will be offering free inspections and pump outs to residents with septic systems in high-risk zones (areas with high bacteria levels, close to waterways, in areas that regularly flood, and in areas with poor soil drainage) which will help to reduce bacteria pollution reaching local waterways.

Fill out this form and we will be in contact with you!

Another successful auction! Thank you so much for your donations, purchases and attendance to the Party at Bay Creek Park! We raised just over $100,000 that we will use to help keep Edisto. . . Edisto!

We have wonderful news to share!  The $275,000 fundraising goal to fully restore the remainder of the Hutchinson House has been met!  One hundred and fifteen (115) donors came forward to help us reach our challenge match last winter, which got us up to $75,000.  That was a huge accomplishment, but then something even more amazing happened.  We received an anonymous $200,000 donation from an individual who wanted to ensure that we reached our total goal as soon as possible, in order to finish this amazing and important project.

This incredible support is humbling, justifying, and probably should have been anticipated, understanding the passion so many of you have to see this national treasure on Edisto come back to life.  We are truly grateful.  By pairing this $275,000 with the funding from the National Parks Service African American Civil Rights grant awarded to us last year, we have begun the process required to preserve, restore and replicate all aspects of the house as it stood the day Henry carried his bride Rosa over the threshold.

Our amazing team consisting of a Preservation Historian, Architectural Conservator, Structural Engineer, and Architectural firm are all working diligently with our staff and board to compile all the research, develop the preservation plan and complete the structural drawings this spring.   Then we will hand the information off to a preservation contractor to begin the work, as early as this summer.

The Hutchinson House continues to experience one triumph after another.  These recent donations are a stunning example of a shared vision and passion to see this heritage site come back to life for the betterment of everyone who will come in contact with it.

Stay tuned for more details and be sure to follow the progress in person or online at edisto.org.  Next up we will be establishing an endowment campaign to ensure funds will be available in perpetuity for annual maintenance and management.

We have been humbled to work with Guyton Ash and Artis Construction who helped get us to this stage in the restoration.

One of the only remaining Freedman’s Houses on Edisto Island, the Hutchinson House tells a powerful story of community and land ownership. We are working with descendants of the family who built the house and lived there for generations to preserve the building and bring the story to life. Watch this video for more details.

We have completed half of the work, and now have a goal to raise $275,000 to complete the project.

We have completed the stabilization, weatherization and first phase of exterior restoration. Phase two will include the interior restoration, replicating the three-sided porch and replacing the north room on the back of the house.

We received a $171,512 grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) funded through the Historic Preservation Fund and African American Civil Rights grant program but we still need your help! A donation to The Hutchinson House Restoration Project will support the work to safe guard the legacy of this property. 

Together, we will restore the home back to its original appearance and open the house and grounds to the public to share the story of how land ownership shaped so many lives on Edisto.

Our online fundraiser, the Shellabration, is going on now though October 30 and we need your help in meeting our goal of $15,000. Buy tickets for three different raffle packages or donate directly to the Land Trust. It all goes to help us continue our work of protecting Edisto for generations to come. Every donor will be entered into a drawing for an Edisto Island Open Land Trust merchandise prize package. 

Thanks to our Title Sponsor, The Huffines Company, as well as our supporting sponsors from Toadfish, Sea Cow Eatery, Fontaine Charters, Edisto Shrimp Boat Charters, Green Boat Discount Liquor, Revel, Edisto Water Sports, Jenkins Family Care.

On Saturday, October 30 at 5 PM, the event will close and the drawing for all the great raffle packages will take place and be announced.

Donate and buy your raffle tickets at shellabration21.givesmart.com.

It was a beautiful Edisto Island day at Middletons on Saturday, October 2 as we honored our Saltmarsh Society members. This is our group of donors who make annual cash contributions of at least $1,000. The weather, food and company were all amazing and we are so thankful for the donations from this special group!

Upon visiting South Carolina, in 1791, George Washington is said to have called the people living on the sands near the river shores Sandlappers. This word conjures images of the waves gently lapping repetitively onto the banks of our beaches, creeks and rivers. It is a symbol of the continual flow onto our shores and seems fitting to title our generous group of recurring monthly donors, The Sandlappers, which reflects their reliable monthly contributions. This monthly gift can be any amount with which you are comfortable, but it can often allow you to increase your giving from previous years by donating smaller amounts each month over the course of a year. Monthly giving can easily be setup by clicking the Donate button at the top of the page.

The Edisto Island Open Land Trust was pleased to be the host site for this exciting evening on Thursday, August 5th from 6 PM – 8 PM, at the recently stabilized historic Hutchinson House property at 7666 Point of Pines Road on Edisto Island. The evening began with a libation ceremony and a ribbon cutting of the newly installed walking trail that meanders around the grounds of the property. 

Edisto Island Gullah/Geechee speakers and vendors:

  • Mrs. Theresa Hilliard, Gullah Storyteller
  • Mrs. Andrea Hazel, Gullah Artist
  • Mrs. Elaine Jackson Ford, Gullah Historian
  • Ms. Keya Meggett, Gullah Land Conservationist
  • Mrs. “MP” Meggett & Family, Gullah Chef

The mission of the Gullah/Geechee Nation is to preserve, protect, and promote our history, culture, language, and homeland and to institute and demand official recognition of the governance (minority) rights necessary to accomplish our mission to take care of our community through collective efforts which will provide a healthy environment, care for the well beings of each person, and economic empowerment.

The mission of The Edisto Island Open Land Trust is to preserve the rural quality of life on Edisto by protecting lands, waterways, scenic vistas, and heritage through conservation and education. Over 50% of Edisto Island has been protected through partnerships with local and national organizations and agencies.  These wildlife preserves, the educational nature programs, and the local landowners who take care of their conserved lands are all part of what makes Edisto…Edisto.

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