Altamaha Riverkeeper News
80 + Acres of the Spit Protected
ARK has been in the forefront of a consortium of coastal environmental groups attempting to prevent the environmental damage of a new residential development on the portion of Sea Island known as “The Spit.” ARK and its environmental partners, represented by Greenlaw attorneys, successfully negotiated the permanent protection from future development of over 80 acres on the Spit.
Sea Island Acquisitions (SIA) agreed to place this fragile shoreline under conservation easement in perpetuity, and also is providing funding for the land trustee, St. Simons Land Trust, to continue environmental and compliance inspections over many years.
Equally significant is that the conservation easement protection will apply to any future accretion on the Spit.
As the result of this agreement, over 90% of the Spit will be permanently protected.
In exchange, SIA will be allowed to go forward with site preparation and the sale of eight planned residential lots. SIA also agreed to additional significant concessions that we believe will result in meaningful protection for sea turtles and shore birds. For example, the new residences will be subject to restrictions on outdoor lighting, prohibition of cats and unleashed dogs to protect wildlife, and mandating pervious surfaces for driveways and environmentally sensitive landscaping that will prevent storm water run-off impacts. All of these concessions are designed to reduce the impact of development and protect the integrity of the adjacent land, ocean, and marshes.
ARK retains the right to mount a legal challenge to any shoreline stabilization or beach renourishment project that may be at- tempted in the future.
ARK also negotiated the right to provide limited future public access with seasonal guided excursions.
Like any negotiation, nobody got everything they wanted, but we are convinced that we have secured significant protections by foregoing a lawsuit that was unlikely to produce as good an outcome. We are proud that Jen Hilburn, our Altamaha Riverkeeper, was instrumental in working with our allies and with SIA to determine the facts and negotiate a positive result in this matter. Protecting the salt water marshes and shoreline near the mouth of the mighty Altamaha is important to ARK’s mission. We are proud that with your help we have secured this important piece of critical habitat for sea turtles, terrapins, shorebirds and waterbirds, and for future generations of Georgians and visitors.