SELC, partners urge Corps to deny federal permit for Sea Island groin

The southern end of Sea Island, Georgia is made up of a narrow spit of shifting sand.  (© Megan Huynh/SELC)

SELC and partners continue to oppose a federal permit to construct a third coastal barrier wall on Georgia’s Sea Island, especially in light of significant damage to the island as a result of two major hurricanes that pummeled the Georgia coast in recent years.

In addition to two existing structures, Sea Island Acquisition, LLC is seeking to construct a new 350-foot-long groin—a wall constructed perpendicular to the beach that traps shifting sand—to create 1,200 feet of new beach for eight luxury lots on a narrow spit on the southern end of Sea Island. The project is opposed by numerous environmental organizations, coastal communities, residents of Sea Island, and state and federal agencies.

Washed Out

An aerial view of the damage on the Sea Island spit following Hurricane Irma in September 2017 shows a substantial overwash of sand over the area slated for eight luxury lots. @NOAA

In comments submitted last week to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of One Hundred Miles, Altamaha Riverkeeper, and the Surfrider Foundation, SELC makes the case that like the existing groins, the proposed groin will continue to cause significant erosion to the Sea Island spit, which serves as key habitat and nesting areas for several species of threatened and endangered sea turtles and shorebirds.

The comments also address the fact that the damage resulting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 to the portion of beach between the two existing groins demonstrates how ineffective these harmful structures are in the face of major storms.

The Corps’ own Coastal Engineering Manual describes groins as “probably the most misused and improperly designed of all coastal structures,” and notes that such coastal structures are “probably the most dramatic cause of man-induced coastal erosion.”

Although a Fulton County Superior Court denied our appeal challenging the state permit for the project in December 2016, SELC and partners will continue to monitor the federal permitting process.

Considering the havoc caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, this ecologically-sensitive and important area should not be further destroyed by ill-advised, poorly planned development,” said SELC attorney Megan Huynh. “As the Georgia coast continues to rebuild while preparing for future storms, we ask that this permit be denied to prevent further, unnecessary damage to the Sea Island spit.”

More News

EPA analysis: Proposal cutting clean water protections benefits heavy industry, not farmers

Buried deep in the Environmental Protection Agency’s economic analysis of the agency’s proposal to gut clean water protections lies a finding tha...

Public cut from public lands under Trump order

In the midst of all the turmoil in Washington, D.C., one recent move by President Donald Trump has slipped largely under the radar. Just before t...

Georgia groups challenge ruling dismissing appeal of flawed Plant Vogtle decision

Georgia groups are challenging a ruling from the Fulton County Superior Court late last month, which dismissed their appeal of the Georgia Public...

With 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda, groups push for action in South Carolina

A coalition of conservation organizations, solar industry groups and other clean energy advocates wants aggressive, urgently needed action from t...

Take action: Tell NC officials to demand coal ash clean up

Join communities across North Carolina in telling Governor Cooper and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that it should require D...

Tennessee releases statewide plan to protect water resources

Tennessee is seeking feedback from the public on TN H2O, a statewide plan to protect Tennessee’s water resources released earlier in the month....

More Stories