Savannah, Georgia, February 13, 2019 – Today, the Surfrider Foundation, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of clean water and healthy beaches, joined a lawsuit challenging the construction of a harmful coastal barrier on Sea Island, Georgia.
Represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Surfrider Foundation will be a plaintiff, along with Altamaha Riverkeeper and One Hundred Miles, in challenging a U.S. Army Corps permit. The permit would allow for the construction of a 350-foot long, six-foot high rock groin and threaten a pristine coastal area that provides habitat for endangered wildlife and significant recreational value for tourists and local communities.
The lawsuit asserts that the issuance of a permit to build the proposed coastal groin in this location violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The undeveloped ‘Sea Island Spit’ at the south end of the coastal barrier island hosts a variety of wildlife, including nesting sea turtles and endangered and threatened species, such as loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers and red knot birds. This area is also a popular recreational site for kayaking, surfing and stand up paddleboarding.
The Surfrider Foundation previously challenged the Georgia Shore Protection Committee’s decision to approve a state permit for the groin, which would significantly increase shoreline erosion and harm the spit’s sensitive ecosystem and important wildlife habitat. Two previously installed groins to the north demonstrate the severe erosion impacts to the south end of the Sea Island Spit.
This proposed third groin, which would solely serve to protect eight undeveloped lots, would further alter the natural sand sharing system in surrounding areas.
“At a point where smart planning is more critical than ever to protect our coastal resources, it defies common sense to develop pristine coastal areas for the benefit of a few landowners to the detriment of shoreline health, wildlife habitat and public access to Georgia’s beloved beaches,” said Steve Combs, Chair of the Surfrider Foundation Georgia Chapter. “It’s important to adopt a reasonable approach that balances the public interest and private rights—this project fails to strike that balance.”
About the Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 170 volunteer- led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 500 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.