Since Spalding’s time, when ditches were
dug to drain the island, there were a number of changes made in order
to retain or remove water at various sites. One of the largest
of these modifications occurred in Howard Coffin’s time with the enclosing
of the duckpond area, and its subsequent change from saltmarsh to freshwater
via the agency of artesian wells. He also built the water garden
near the Marine Institute.
It was Reynolds who built a dyke to enclose
the marshland between Shell Hammock and the boatshed, but dykes are
rarely a match for strong tides and it was quickly breached. Today
it provides a haven for marsh rabbits, mink, raccoon, rattlesnakes,
Borrichia, dewberries and pokeweed.
It can be a mistake to place labels on
environments, and there are many on Sapelo which cannot be slipped
into a neat category.