Altamaha Riverkeeper News
Turtle Expert’s Opinion Overlooked in DNR Report on Spit
Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources ignored its own turtle expert’s advice in a document prepared in connection with Sea Island Acquisition’s application to build an additional sea groin intended to protect eight lots SIA is trying to sell, according to testimony Tuesday before an administrative law judge in Brunswick.
The testimony came as part of an appeal of the state Shore Protection Committee decision last December to grant the application to build the proposed groin. Altamaha Riverkeeper, Surfrider and One Hundred Miles all filed an appeal of that decision.
Sea Island’s request was to create 1,200 feet of beach on the seaward side in front of the proposed development lots by building a 350-foot T-shaped groin and then trucking sand in to create a beach for the currently unsold lots. Given the editing of his report, the Shore Protection Committee may not have been aware that DNR turtle program coordinator Mark Dodd opposed the project. In his report, Dodd wrote that the proposed rock groin would be a detriment to sea turtle nesting habitat. “And as such we recommend the groin not be permitted at this time,” Dodd wrote in his report to his superiors. That recommendation was deleted.