Coastal Groups Urge Corps to Deny Permit for Proposed Development, Cite Impacts to Wetlands
Brunswick, GA — Coastal groups have submitted a comment letter urging the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit that would allow development of over 5,500 acres of land, citing storm water impacts to freshwater tidal marsh and wetlands.
The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted the letter on behalf of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Satilla Riverkeeper, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia River Network, Glynn Environmental Coalition, and Ogeechee Riverkeeper to protect the land tract north of Brunswick, Georgia, including more than 500 acres of wetlands and over 1,000 acres of marsh that lie immediately adjacent to the South Altamaha River. These wetlands are home to many fish and wildlife species, and also provide vital filtering capabilities for local water quality.
“The current development plan would allow stormwater to be dumped directly into the wetlands on the site, degrading and impairing those wetlands,” said Bill Sapp of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We ask that the Corps strongly consider the size of this proposed development and the natural resources it would impact.”
Contaminated stormwater runoff from roofs, roads, and driveways throughout the development carrying discharges like oil, grease, pesticides, and fertilizers could have highly detrimental impacts on wetlands and connecting tidal marsh.
The existing storm water management plan involves installing discharge pipes into the wetlands on site. If the permit moves forward, the groups charge that the same pipes could instead be routed into the 360-acres of amenity ponds the developer intends to construct.
“Rather than routing chemicals and pollutants into rare tidal marsh and wetlands, the amenity ponds could provide a practicable alternative for treatment of the storm water,” said Brian Lucy of Altamaha Riverkeeper. “This oversight is just one of many reasons we are asking the Corps to deny this permit and elect stronger protections for this tract of land, the ecosystems it provides, and the public interest involved.”
One Hundred Miles, a coastal conservation organization focused on the 100-mile Georgia coast, also submitted comments to the Corps.
“Georgia’s wetlands are our most valuable asset in the effort to preserve our water quality. We should avoid the loss and impairment of wetlands at all costs,” said Megan Desrosiers of One Hundred Miles. “The Altama planned development was approved in 2008 based on economic growth projections that did not come to fruition, and it would be a travesty to approve a proposal to destroy wetlands for a development that is no longer justified.”
Center for a Sustainable Coast:
The Center for a Sustainable Coast was formed in 1997 by a group of public-spirited environmental professionals and concerned citizens. The purpose of our non-profit membership organization is to improve the responsible use, protection, and conservation of coastal Georgia’s resources – natural, historic, and economic. www.sustainablecoast.org
Altamaha Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the habitat, water quality, and flow of the Altamaha river systems, Georgia’s largest, from its headwaters in North Georgia to its terminus at the Atlantic Ocean near Darien. ARK represents more than 1,200 members who live, work, and recreate in the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Ohoopee River Basins and their feeder streams that make up the 14,000 square mile Altamaha River Watershed. More information can be found at www.altamahariverkeeper.org
The Satilla Riverkeeper’s vision is a Satilla River that supports healthy fisheries, safe swimming, diverse wildlife, outstanding recreation, clean drinking water, and sustainable human economic activity throughout the basin. www.satillariverkeeper.org
The Georgia Conservancy was founded in 1967 to protect Georgia’s natural resources for present and future generations by advocating sound environmental policies, advancing sustainable growth practices and facilitating common-ground solutions to environmental challenges. For more information, visit our website at www.georgiaconservancy.org
Georgia River Network:
Georgia River Network is a statewide organization working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast. Founded in 1998, Georgia River Network has over 600 members and works with a network of 30+ groups across the state to protect Georgia’s waterways. www.GaRivers.org
Glynn Environmental Coalition:
The Glynn Environmental Coalition works for a clean environment and a healthy economy for citizens of coastal Georgia by forming partnerships and providing education, information, and technical assistance. www.glynnenvironmental.org
Ogeechee RIVERKEEPER® exists for the Ogeechee, Canoochee, and coastal rivers, not the other way around. Accordingly, we measure our success not by totals of dues-paying members, dollars raised, or awards and recognitions, but by the quality of the water in the basin and the commitment of its citizens to protecting, preserving, and improving it. A hard-working, effective organization for the waters and people of the Ogeechee River basin: that is the vision for Ogeechee RIVERKEEPER®. www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org