A management company working to reopen the 18-hole golf course at Pleasant Point Plantation on Lady's Island has been cited by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for damaging a migratory-bird nest.
The Golf Course LLC was fined $325 in September for damage that occurred Aug. 26, according to a violation notice obtained through a public records request.
John Marsh, director of the Pleasant Point Plantation Homeowner's Association, said the community leased its defunct golf course to the firm last year. Since then, the company has cleared growth and worked to revive the dormant course.
Marsh said he was unaware of the violation and declined to comment on it.
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The incident was reported Aug. 28 by a resident who found the nest and three eggs on the ground. A Fish and Wildlife investigator reportedly found one broken egg on the ground with yolk oozing out.
"The Golf Course LLC allowed workers to complete construction work on a pond, which resulted in the destruction of one migratory bird nest and three eggs," the report said.
A golf course official, whose name was redacted from the report, told the investigator he was unaware active nests were there, according to the report.
Beaufort County codes enforcement director Audra Antonacci said her office investigated and found no ordinance violations.
"We didn't find any evidence of trees being removed in the rookery," Antonacci said.
Christy Hand, wading bird biologist for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, doesn't believe the agency is investigating the Pleasant Point incident.
"In general, it is important to conserve rookeries because one of the greatest threats to wading birds in South Carolina is habitat loss and degradation," she said. "Wading birds nest in groups, and they often return to the same location year after year, so many birds can be affected by the loss of a rookery."
Paula Loftis, who lives near the golf course, said several migratory bird species, including egrets, ibises and herons, nested around the pond in willow trees and wax myrtle bushes that grew during the six years that the course has been closed.
She worries other birds were lost.
"It was a rookery with several nests and multiple birds," she said, adding that at times the trees were so packed with birds "it looked like it had been snowed on."
Marsh, the homeowner's association director, said the community of about 300 homes signed a long-term lease with The Golf Course LLC to run the course.
He said the newly renovated facility should open about June 1.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.