Based on a recent update to the Corps of Engineers Savannah District website, it looks like Tybee Island might be safe from the proposed near shore deposits of dredge materials from the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). From the FAQ [pdf]:

How are you taking into the account the City of Tybee Island’s concerns about impacts to the beach from the channel?

  • We previously determined that the ship channel, as it has existed since the mid-1970s, contributes between 70-80 percent of the reduction in the coastal littoral sediment supply volume to the Tybee shelf and shoreline.  This sediment is composed of sands, silts and clays.  Further deepening will not change those existing conditions.• Dredged material was never proposed for the beach re-nourishment. Instead suitable material was to be used for near-shore disposal — about one mile from the shore — in order to help prevent erosion of the beach. We developed our initial proposal in coordination with officials from Tybee Island and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. However, it was always a proposal and on Jan. 20, 2011, the Tybee Council voted to reject the near-shore placement of dredged material.• The Corps will instead use a pre-designated off-shore disposal area for material dredged from the outer channel. We had already planned to place much of the outer channel material in this location.

This doesn’t end all of the environmental concerns with SHEP so stay tuned. A public comment period on a revised Environmental Impact Statement is expected to open in October. Visit our STOP – Save Tybee’s Ocean Playground campaign page for the latest information.