Hilton Head Plantation… a beautiful place to call home.
After being personally greeted at the gate…a friendly wave welcomes you home. A home we share with a canopy of towering loblolly pines, scrub palmettos, and majestic live oaks that give way to sweeping views of tidal marshes. Every attention to detail has been incorporated in the preservation of the flora and wildlife communities that have existed on the Island for centuries.
Hilton Head Plantation is situated on nearly 4,000 acres where breathtaking natural beauty abounds. As the dolphin playfully swim by in Port Royal Sound, and the turtles and alligators lazily sun on the banks of the lagoons, friends and neighbors proudly call Hilton Head Plantation home.
When asked the reasons why residents moved to Hilton Head Plantation and what they most like about living here, the overwhelming response has been the Plantation’s natural beauty.
Yes, we have our manicured areas and beautiful golf courses, but the overwhelming majority of the open spaces on Hilton Head Plantation are left in their natural state. From the beginning, it was the environment that was our most important attraction — the architecture of homes taking second place so they would blend into the natural surroundings. That delicate balance has been maintained with the pendulum swinging slightly back and forth from time to time as HHP has adapted to new regulations and changing tastes.
The new generation of buyers coming into the marketplace is not only looking for our natural environment, but they also want all the benefits of technology including cell phone service and wireless data services. However, many of these same folks abhor the thought of looking at a 150-foot cell phone tower that brings that technology into their homes. This concern was addressed with an updated Distributed Cellular System that positioned six (6) concrete poles that blend with the natural tree canopy and a 149-foot monopine, both installed by Crown Castle Solutions. Hilton Head Plantation is also serviced by an integrated fiber optic network that is capable of unlimited data transmission speeds. This fiber optic network can be connected to every home in Hilton Head Plantation and can provide internet, video, and telephone services. This fiber optic system was installed by Hargray Communications. Hilton Head Plantation is also serviced by Time Warner for video, internet, and phone services.
Below are some of the things that Hilton Head Plantation does as a community to be good stewards of the natural environment and natural resources that have been entrusted to our care. Those elements, along with our amenities, classes, clubs, governing documents, attention to customer service, open communication, sound fiscal management, and a first rate Security Department, are why many buyers looking for a residential community in the Hilton Head Island area chose Hilton Head Plantation to call home.
As many of you may already know, all the sanitary wastewater that flows out of Hilton Head Plantation is treated and recycled back to four holding ponds on the Plantation. This wastewater is then used by our four golf courses for irrigation. Some of this reclaimed water is also pumped into the Whooping Crane and Cypress Conservancies to help maintain those ecosystems.
The POA recently signed up to receive bio diesel for use in our off-road equipment and vehicles. This recycled product will be used in equipment such as our “Wood Hog” mulching equipment, front-end loader/back hoe, and back-up diesel generator. The purchase of this product will also have the benefit of not being subject to road tax. So if you are dumping off landscape debris at the POA’s yard waste dump site and smell the aroma of French fries...no, you are not at the drive-through window of a local fast food restaurant — you are smelling the clean exhaust fumes of the Wood Hog running on reclaimed French fry oil!
Speaking of mulch, the POA provides a service to all residents that allows the drop off of yard waste at our POA dump site. This site is for residents only and is not for contractors. The dropped off material is processed into mulch and is then used as ground cover throughout the Plantation. This material will also be delivered free of charge to any property owner within the Plantation. Our mulch is used by the farmers and a portion of it is allowed to rot down into compost, which can be used as a soil amendment. This is the total loop in the environmental cycle. Landscape debris that would otherwise end up in the local landfill taking up space is totally recycled back into the soil from which it came.
Hilton Head Plantation has one of the most active Farm Clubs on the Island. Our farmers not only grow crops for their personal consumption, but they also sell their excess produce to the community on given days. The farmers also co-op to grow blueberries and all manner of citrus and other fruits. Did you know that Seabrook Farm has its own beehives and a beekeeper to assist with pollination? The beekeeper harvests the honey and sells his product back to the farmers and local residents.
With the exception of a few formal landscaped areas, HHP’s hundreds of acres of open spaces are left in their natural state to maintain the ambiance and, of course, provide an abundance of wildlife habitat. These areas also serve as visual and sound buffers hiding many of our homes behind dense foliage.
Lagoon Bank Mowing
You may also be aware that the POA leaves a two to three foot landscape buffer around most of our lakes and lagoons. This Best Practice serves several purposes. The buffer acts as a filter to capture silt and trash, it absorbs nutrients that would otherwise end up in these bodies of water, and it reduces the amount of grass clippings that end up in the water (which not only fills the lagoon with additional material but also deprives the fish of much-needed oxygen that is depleted while breaking down these materials under the water.) Finally, the buffer serves as wildlife habitat. All of these considerations contribute not only to the health of our stormwater runoff, but also to the abundant wildlife that calls Hilton Head Plantation home. We do cut down to the water’s edge twice a year to reduce and maintain woody growth. We would encourage our four golf courses to adopt these same ecological practices on the lagoons located on their properties.
The primary function of our lake and lagoon system is stormwater management. Yes, they serve an aesthetic purpose and as habitats for fish, water fowl, and other wildlife; however, their main function is the control and treatment of stormwater. This control takes on several components. These bodies of water are able to hold a volume of water after a rain event and release it slowly into the Port Royal Sound, Skull Creek, or Jarvis Lake. This slow-release reduces erosion and allows heavy materials that are mixed with the stormwater runoff to settle to the bottom of the lake or lagoon. The vegetation in the water helps to filter the water further and absorb excess nutrients. This is a delicate balance and, as you know, when an imbalance occurs we can experience events such as a fish kill or an algae bloom. Many of our troublesome lakes and lagoons have been equipped with aerators which add oxygen to the water to help support a healthy fish population, aquatic vegetation, and the decomposition of organic solids.
Many of our stormwater conveyance structures are open ditches that assist with the treatment of stormwater. These ditches, especially the ones lined with grassy vegetation, slow the velocity of the runoff and help filter out additional silt and nutrients.
The POA’s lakes and lagoons contractor uses a mechanical device called a “Weed Harvester”, which you may have seen floating on one of our bodies of water. This device mechanically removes excessive vegetative growth and deposits it on the shoreline for dewatering and removal. This technique reduces the amount of herbicides needed to control such nuisance aquatic growth.
We have introduced sterile grass carp into several of our lagoons. This species of fish are voracious plant eaters and will feed on most nuisance aquatic weeds. The use of grass carp will cut down on our use of herbicides to keep these bodies of water free of aquatic weeds.
At strategic locations throughout the Plantation we have placed signs that say “Stormwater - Don’t Dump.” We also periodically remind residents not to dump waste oil, paint, pesticides, etc. into our storm drains since all of our drains lead to a lake or lagoon and eventually into one of three bodies of water — Jarvis Creek, Skull Creek, or the Port Royal Sound. This is a responsibility we each have as citizens of our greater community.
Picking up after your Pet
Hilton Head Plantation’s Rules and Regulations stipulate that you must pick up after your pet when using the POA common areas to walk your four-legged friends. This practice not only reduces the incidents of coming home with a “surprise” on your shoe, but it drastically reduces the fecal-coliform levels in our stormwater drainage system, and ultimately, the receiving bodies of water of Skull Creek, Jarvis Creek, and the Port Royal Sound.
The POA has installed recycling bins at each of our community buildings. And we encourage every resident to recycle either through their designated trash hauler or at the County Transfer Station located on Dillon Road.
Hilton Head Plantation boasts over ten miles of leisure paths which encourages the use of bicycles to get to and from destinations both on and off the Plantation.
Fluorescent and LED lighting program
The POA has switched all of its incandescent lamps to appropriate fluorescent bulbs and we are currently exploring the use of LED lamps in specific applications. We encourage every resident to explore retrofitting their homes in the same way.
Several years ago, we made the decision to switch our patrol vehicle platform from the eight (8) cylinder Ford Crown Victoria to the six (6) cylinder Dodge Charger. The Dodge is lighter and more fuel efficient and has demonstrated many advantages over the Crown Victoria.
Catch and Release
Hilton Head Plantation has a very active Fishing Club that periodically stocks our lagoons and lakes. In an effort to maintain a healthy population of fish for future Plantation residents, Hilton Head Plantation practices and recommends “Catch and Release” in all of our freshwater lagoons. On a separate note, our Fishing Club members mentor many groups on the sport of fishing including our Kids Kampers, the Girl Scouts in pursuit of their fishing merit badge, and the campers from Camp Leo which is sponsored by the Lions Club for the sight-impaired. All of these practices are designed to sustain the sport and population of our fisheries for generations to come.
Each resident is asked to monitor their home irrigation system and make sure it is operating efficiently and not dumping water onto hard surfaces. Consider landscaping with more native vegetation or plants that require less irrigation and fertilizer, and the use of a rain barrel to capture roof runoff which can be used for irrigation. (See the ARB Guidelines for such installations.) If you live on a street with a reverse crown (the storm drains are in the center of the street), make sure you maintain a strip of grass where the asphalt meets your lawn. This practice helps capture pine straw, silt, and nutrients that would otherwise end up in one of our lakes or lagoons. We all know the challenges of our reverse crown roads during a heavy rain event; even with all of our Best Practices in place, we are tested at times when pine straw covers drain grates and some of our streets flood. Every little bit helps and we applaud residents who have adopted storm drains by keeping the pine straw and other debris from clogging these drains.
More to Come
We are always looking at additional cost-effective implementation strategies to keep Hilton Head Plantation the natural mecca you bought into and continue to enjoy.