Jekyll Island begins clearing effort for overgrown causeway
The Brunswick News
January 17, 2012
Anna Ferguson Hall

The shoulders of Downing Musgrove Causeway are overgrown with vegetation, and the Jekyll Island Authority is planning to do something about it.

Landscape crews with the Jekyll Island Authority will begin work this week to clear overgrown plants and trees from the two-lane causeway, which connects the state park to U.S. 17, said Eric Garvey, chief marketing director for the authority.

Some foliage and trees along the roadway have become so overgrown that it is dangerous to the life cycles of the plants, Garvey said.

He noted that trees like wax myrtles are actually so overgrown that they are falling over one another.

For several years, the authority has worked to secure proper permits from the state Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Department of Transportation to clear off the overgrown sections of the causeway as a component of the Jekyll Causeway Vegetation Management Plan and Jekyll Island Conservation Plan.

With the final documentation secured and permission granted, the authority can now begin work.

The task will entail clearing some 2.5 miles of selected vista along both sides of the causeway.

The authority has also secured permits to clean up dead or fallen debris in areas outside the defined selective clearing areas.

Clearing work, though, will avoid the bird nesting areas on Latham's Hammock, Garvey said.

The work is expected to take several weeks and will be completed prior to songbird nesting season and diamondback terrapin nesting season.

"We were very cautious of the environment when making these plans," Garvey said.

Clearing will promote a healthier ecosystem on the causeway because it will allow for fresh growth, he said.

The overall goal of the vegetation management work is to promote a diverse habitat and restore vistas along the most scenic areas of the causeway.

Selective clearing will be performed on a five-year cycle to allow plant maturation and to create a diversity of successional growth, Garvey said.

Motorists are asked to use caution during the work.

"People might wonder what all this work is and get side-tracked," Garvey said. "We're asking that people keep their eyes on the road."