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Beach Nourishment

An Update from Scott Steilen

We are pleased to report that our beach nourishment efforts, in conjunction with work from both our naturalists and DNR’s conservationists, have led to a banner year for both the nesting birds on Hupp’s Bar and the Sea Turtle Nests. Here are a few highlights from Scott Steilen’s July 31 update.


Permit to Complete Beach Nourishment in the 24th to 36th Street Area

Sea Island has received a permit modification from the Corps of Engineers to complete our beach nourishment project in the 24th to 36th Street area, which will include extending the planted dune north. We will not use dredged sand from an offshore borrow area to complete this project. Rather, sand will be sourced from the low-tide area between the beach at the north end of the island to the sand bar commonly referred to as “Hupp’s Bar.”


Increase in Nesting Birds on Hupp's Bar

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has asked Sea Island to try to maintain a channel between the shoreline and the bar to prevent predators from disturbing the nesting birds on the bar. We are pleased to report that those efforts, in conjunction with work from both our naturalists and DNR’s conservationists, have led to a banner year. Recently, the DNR reported that Hupp’s Bar has supported several productive Oystercatcher nests, over 50 pairs of Gull-Billed Tern, and the largest Black Skimmer colony in the state with over 200 nesting pairs and roughly 140 chicks to date.


Banner Year for Sea Turtle Nests

Sea Island has had an all-time record sea turtle nesting season. As of July 30, we have 112 sea turtle nests on Sea Island. This compares to 70 for the entire 2018 nesting season. The majority of the nests this season are located in the recently nourished areas, which also bodes well for the future. Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas have made the national news due to their record nesting year and Sea Island is on a similar pace. This is significant as some experts anticipated that the year following any nourishment would lead to a lower sea turtle nest count than the prior year. We, however, designed our beach to have natural contours, which we believe is more conducive to good turtle habitat (and beachgoer experience) than the steeper sloping so often associated with nourished beaches.

Before and After Drone Footage of Sea Island Beach

View this brief, two-minute drone video showing some dramatic before and after nourishment footage and a July 4th flyover.