No Wonder Fish & Wildlife Sservice Objected

Aerial view of the Sea Island spit
Aerial view of the Sea Island spit

Thirty pieces of copper seem like a come-down from thirty pieces of silver. But then, that’s the price of a cubic yard of sand, not of the life of a man.

Yes, thirty cents is what the socialist U.S. State of Georgia expects to deposit in the till for every one of 2.3 million cubic yards of “beach quality” sand the Sea Island Corporation is having pumped up onto the beach from off-shore. The whole document can be found by clicking here.

While it is good news that Georgia’s Properties Commission has entered into a lease for the dredging in public waters and the lease is subject to being ended, if the conditions of the permit from the Shore Protection Committee are not met, the arrangement will be active for ten years, if all the conditions are met and there is no-one to speak on behalf of the wildlife that’s going to be compressed and tilled and relocated whenever a high tide scours the shore, as it inevitably will.

Indeed, if James Holland’s pictures are to be believed, the tide took back a good bit of the sand before the required bathymetric analysis could be complete. The rock piles, including construction debris, are another matter.

It is no wonder the fish and wildlife service objected. Although the agreement states that the purpose of this project is to serve wildlife and recreational purposes, the surf around these rock piles is inhospitable, to say the least.


“6. Annual surveys for compaction will be completed in February for 5 Annual beach sand compaction surveys shall be completed each February for 5-years following completion of the project. Sand compaction should be measured at a maximum of 500 ft. intervals along the project area and along three transects corresponding to the landward, middle and seaward portion of the fill berm. An additional measurement should be taken from the dune feature. At each measurement station, a cone penetrometer shall be pushed to depths of 6, 12, and 18 inches three times (3 replicates), and the compaction readings averaged to produce a final reading at each depth for each station. If the average value for any depth exceeds 500 cpu for any 2 or more adjacent stations (including the dune feature), that area must be tilled prior to a depth of 36 inches prior to May 1. A report on the results of compaction monitoring shall be submitted to DNR prior to any tilling actions being taken. A representative from DNR should be present during the compaction testing. This condition shall be evaluated annually and may be modified if necessary to address sand compaction problems identified during the previous year.”

From Shore Protection Committee Permit #461, Final Conditions June 29, 2018, Sea Island Acquisition, LLC, Shoreline Engineering Activities, Sea Island, Glynn County, Georgia, Special Conditions, pages 3 & 4 or 4.

We are told that just three human footsteps in the same place are sufficient to compress the soil and kill of the microorganisms that live there. What then is the effect of bulldozers driving back and forth each year to redistribute the sand wind and waves have moved away?

We are often instructed that our public agencies should be run like businesses and here in Georgia that seems to be the routine. But nobody mentions that we are the number one state for business because the private sector profits off our public assets and the public pays the cost in terms of resources lost. And the turtles who are given special consideration are, at best, very temporary visitors.


Editor's note: This story was originally posted at Hannah Blog.

Image credits: all the photographs in this story were taken by James Holland Photography.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."