August 13, 2020
Temporary SGA Ban Request Denied
The Clemson Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has denied the Town’s request for a temporary, one-year prohibition on second-generation anticoagulant (SGA) use on Kiawah Island. The temporary ban would have immediately removed these products from our ecosystem and mitigated any further damage to our bobcat population and other wildlife while our community works on a permanent solution to this issue. (Letter provided here)
Commenting on the DPR’s action, Mayor Weaver noted that “I continue to believe that our request for this moratorium is justified, based on solid rationale, and needed while we work within our community and with our pest control businesses to find a permanent solution to this problem. We will continue to discuss options with the DPR and are encouraged by the strong support for this action from Kiawah organizations such as the Kiawah Conservancy, KICA, and local leaders, including State Senator Campsen.”
The Town has been working closely with the DPR to increase education and training for pest control companies. As a result, the DPR has developed a unique education program to promote Integrated Pest Management as an alternative to SGAs, which are overused in the industry. Pest control companies that participate in the two-hour program receive two recertification credits.
It is of the utmost importance that our community come together quickly and commit to making the necessary changes. Our effort to remove SGAs from Kiawah is the fastest way to make a difference.
Since the Bobcat Guardian pledge program was rolled out, we have had an encouraging response from residents, businesses, and pest control companies that serve our island. However, we have a long way to go to create an ecosystem where our bobcat’s population recovery is possible.
The Town will continue to work to develop ways to mitigate the issue. While the notion of importing and introducing new bobcats to the island is a possibility, it will make little or no difference if these toxic products continue to be heavily used on Kiawah. We need the community’s help with these efforts.
Mayor Weaver stated, “the importance of this effort extends beyond the immediate issue of rodenticide use and our island’s bobcat population. We know that a major reason people choose to live on or visit Kiawah is our unique natural habitat – beach, maritime forest, and wildlife. We are always going to be challenged in protecting that habitat, whether it be from pesticide use, sea-level change, development, or some challenge that isn’t yet on our radar screen. We have an opportunity here to demonstrate that the entire community of property owners, businesses, and community organizations can come together successfully, and with a common purpose, to solve a critical problem.”
Another Death – Also troubling, on Monday evening, one of the Town’s two remaining female collared bobcats (Bobcat 250 – 2-year-old female) was struck by a car and killed. She was born in The Preserve in April, 2019 and was the offspring of Bobcat 600, who died on June 10 from rodenticide poisoning along with her four kittens. The animal was submitted for anticoagulant testing today. Biologists now estimate that we have less than ten bobcats remaining on the island.
You can still get involved by visiting www.savekiawahbobcats.comand submitting a pledge form!
You can still get involved by visiting www.savekiawahbobcats.com and submitting a pledge form!
Bobcat Guardian Providers Decals
The Town will be providing Bobcat Guardian decals for pest control companies that have taken the pledge. Almost all of our Bobcat Guardian pest control providers have requested decals for their fleets that service Kiawah. Look for the decals on their next visit to your property.
Other Ways to Help
While Kiawah still has plenty of excellent bobcat habitat, it has less than it did ten years ago. This means that bobcats have to travel further and expand their home range size to meet their needs. Because bobcats are territorial, larger home range sizes mean fewer bobcats on the island. Also, increased travel by bobcats makes them more susceptible to vehicle collisions and other mortality events.
Residents can easily help replace their habitat by exchanging or adding native landscaping to their property that promotes bobcat habitat (Saw Palmettos, Yaupon Holly, Black Needlerush, Wax Myrtle, Saltmeadow Cordgrass, Little Bluestem, and Broomsedge) and let buffer areas grow back naturally. More information is available through the Town’s Grow Native initiative at www.grownativekiawah.com