Spring 2001 Newsletter:
Center Appeals State Permit For Marsh Hammock Bridges
St. Simons Island, GA

The Center for a Sustainable Coast, with several collaborating environmental organizations, filed an appeal of a recently granted state permit for construction of three bridges over state-owned marshland that would connect three marsh hammocks to Emerald Pointe, a residential area near the Wilmington River in Chatham County. Joining with us in filing this appeal are Altamaha Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club.

We strongly believe that this case is critical to the future protection of hammocks and adjacent marshes, as well as water quality supporting wildlife habitat and fisheries. Because these resources have enormous value to our members and many other coastal residents and businesses, we ask that you consider supporting our efforts by contributing your time and other resources in helping us raise public awareness about this case.

The appeal was filed by attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) to address our concerns regarding development activities that would result if the bridges were built, and the environmental disruption caused by related land-disturbing activities and land uses in these sensitive marshfront areas. We believe that risks to the resources and wildlife habitat of the estuarine ecosystem introduced by hammock development are unjustified, and that they are particularly ill-advised in this case for various specific reasons.

We believe that the impacts of the bridges were considered independently, without evaluating the adverse effects caused by subsequent development activities that the bridges would make possible. The Center, SELC, and the other petitioners take issue with this severely limited interpretation of regulations under Georgia's Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.

This appeal will be heard by an administrative judge, probably in mid-June.
We are hopeful the judge will determine that the permit is unlawful as issued. If we are successful, the case will become a landmark decision advancing protection of both hammocks and the surrounding marsh ecosystem.

Wilmington River Marsh Hammock: (see story above)
The Center has numerous members who enjoy the wildlife, fisheries, and recreational amenities sustained by this very same marsh area. If you use the resources in the project vicinity, either recreationally or commercially, please mail a statement to us describing such activities, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, bird-watching, nature photography, and other outdoor recreation, as well as commercial fishing and nature-based tourism.

^ Top