April 20th Meeting - Special Guest
Ecologist, Naturalist & Wildlife Biologist
SC Dept. of Natural Resources (retired 2010)
Part-time Natural History Biologist (present)
Charleston, South Carolina
Biographical Sketch –2017
Billy McCord is a native of Manning, South Carolina. He received both undergraduate (1975) and Master of Science (1977) degrees from Clemson University. Billy’s MS degree is in wildlife biology, and his minor field of study in both undergraduate and graduate school at Clemson was entomology.
Billy was employed as a full-time wildlife biologist, ecologist and naturalist by SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) from March 1978 through June 2010. Much of his professional career through 2003 dealt with the study and management of migratory fish populations, and he was a member of national, State, and regional committees. His primary focus was on diadromous fishes (species using both marine and fresh water during their life cycle), and including studies of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, American shad, American eel and river herring. He also participated in research on Atlantic coastal sharks and red drum.
Beginning in fall 2003, Billy’s SCDNR career took a major turn, and he began to focus primarily on ecological topics. He led studies of small coastal islands within estuaries of SC and performed inventories (plants and animals) on 350 such islands. He has also conducted similar ecological surveys on several barrier islands in Charleston County, SC.
Billy has been involved with invasive species issues for years and conducted surveys for the invasive South American cactus moth along the central coast of SC in summer 2008. Billy found populations of the invasive insect widely distributed in colonies of both native (including a SC-listed rare species) and non-native (and invasive) cacti, including infestations in cactus colonies on isolated, small islands in the relatively pristine ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Billy led several projects dealing with eradication of the invasive Chinese tallowtree during his final four years as a full-time SCDNR ecologist. One of these projects included restoration of isolated, freshwater wetlands, primarily through eradication of Chinese tallowtree and damming of drainage ditches. Billy has also provided consultation, both as a SCDNR employee and as a private consultant, on control of invasive plants (primarily Chinese tallowtree and privets) on both private and public properties in coastal SC.
Billy has worked as part of botanical inventory teams in coastal SC as part of the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) headquartered at the University of NC. The CVS characterizes native plant communities through the establishment and monitoring of quantitative habitat plots. He has also cooperated (and continues to cooperate) with a plant ecologist and professor at The Citadel on native plant community impacts as caused by both Chinese tallowtree and die-off of red bay as caused by the invasive red bay ambrosia beetle and an associated fungus (Laurel Wilt Disease).
Over the past 35 years, Billy has given many lectures to school, civic, church and natural history groups on topics such as: ecology of coastal butterflies, coastal wildflowers, gardening for wildlife, ecology of coastal islands, and invasive species. He has also led countless nature outings on similar topics and has written a number of articles for South Carolina Wildlife, a nationally acclaimed magazine published by the SCDNR. Billy has also coauthored several scientific documents on monarch butterflies.
Billy is currently a part-time employee with the SCDNR in Charleston. He continues to conduct biological inventories of coastal islands and recently did such a survey for South Fenwick Island in Colleton County. Billy continues to conduct research on migratory monarch butterflies and has done so annually since 1996, having tagged 30,200+ monarchs (mostly in coastal SC).
Billy is an avid outdoorsman, and he is a member of many natural history and conservation organizations, including: SC Native Plant Society, Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, American Bird Conservancy, Monarch Watch, Carolina Butterfly Society, SC Wildlife Federation, Coastal Conservation League, and SC Environmental Law Project.
Last edited by bill_barber : 03-28-2018 at 10:19 AM.