May 09 2016
Brunswick, Georgia; May 9, 2016 – Today, the administrative hearing commences of the petition brought forth by the Surfrider Foundation Georgia Chapter and Altamaha Riverkeeper which challenges the Georgia Shore Protection Committee’s decision to permit a permanent rock groin on the pristine Sea Island Spit. This project, by Sea Island Acquisition LLC, would exacerbate erosion of this already highly erosive coastal barrier island, with devastating impacts. The 350-foot long groin (6 foot high) would be perpendicular to the shore, with a 120-foot T-shaped head in the ocean running parallel to the coast. Two previously installed groins have had severe erosion impacts to the south end of the Spit. This third would be too much.
“There are no structures or homes in this area that need to be protected, and we shouldn’t be harming our coast and risking harm to our recreational opportunities to protect hypothetical, multi-million dollar homes,” said Surfrider Foundation Legal Associate Staley Prom. “Wanting to build a groin is contrary to shoreline management practices happening around the country. Even after Hurricane Sandy, for example, New Jersey isn’t using groins. There are less harmful and impactful alternatives than constructing a permanent rock groin on this beach in Sea Island.”
Instead, a 350-foot rock groin would impact and exacerbate beach erosion by altering the natural sand sharing processes in the area which are critical to the existence of the Spit and functioning of the adjacent Gould’s Inlet, a popular spot for surfers, kayakers, and stand-up paddlers. The proposed groin would also have adverse effects on several species of protected sea turtles – by causing down-drift erosion and thereby risking loss of hundreds of feet of nesting habitat, and by interfering with hatchlings as they attempt to make their way out into the ocean.
The Surfrider Foundation wants proper application and enforcement of the Georgia Shore Protection Act, which, under Georgia law, requires that projects like this be in the public interest and all reasonable alternatives be considered. This special place must be protected from this ill-conceived and poorly vetted project.
The Surfrider Foundation and Altamaha Riverkeeper are generously represented by attorney Steve Caley at GreenLaw, a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, which takes legal action in defense of our environment. Petitioners’ appeal has also been consolidated with a challenge brought by the One Hundred Miles organization.
The hearing is scheduled for May 9 – 13th at the Brunswick Municipal Court. A decision is anticipated to be rendered later this summer.
To learn more about this appeal, please read here.
About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, visit surfrider.org.