The Jekyll Island Authority applied for a “Beach Stewardship General Permit” from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “to facilitate more efficient and effective management of the dynamic, sensitive, and valuable beachfront-shoreline on Jekyll Island.”

The Shore Protection Committee met on April 28, 2017 to consider the application. The Brunswick News reported on the meeting.

IPJI would like to provide its supporters with the following information about this important issue:

The Shore Protection Act (SPA) - O.C.G.A. 12-5-230 does not include a provision for a “General Permit.”

IPJI, Center for a Sustainable Coast, and One Hundred Miles provided the committee with written comments to the application, as did 45 other persons/entities whose comments will be added to our list of information when it is obtained from the DNR.

The meeting was recorded in two parts and placed on YouTube.

Highlights from the meeting:

Mindy Egan, Co-director of IPJI made a statement to the committee informing it that the 2011 Conservation Plan (CP) - which was to have been updated by September 2016 but was not -  required the Conservation Team "to establish a Beach Management Working Group that will develop a comprehensive beach management plan for the Island.” This requirement was supposed to have been completed in the “short term,” according to the Conservation Plan timeline, but it was not.

Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Helen Barnes addressed the committee and cited examples from the Shore Protection Act indicating the JIA application was not in compliance with the Shore Protection law. Committee member Henry Morgan agreed with that assessment.

Despite the apparent illegality of the application, the committee did not immediately dismiss it.

Ben Carswell, Conservation Director for the JIA, was asked the following questions (among others) by the committee.

"What is the size of the Jurisdictional Area on Jekyll Island?" Mr. Carswell did not know.

"What are the projects in the queue that would be relevant to such a permit?" Mr. Carswell was not able to respond and the question was rephrased. Mr. Carswell then said that fences, for example, needed to be installed in various places where people were walking through the dunes. (IPJI note: There are places on Jekyll where this has been occurring for quite some time. Why has the JIA NOT sought a permit to correct this by now?) Another example by provided by Mr. Carswell was a one-acre project near Camp Jekyll, where the intradunal area could be planted with native grasses. (While this is an excellent project and certainly has environmental and educational benefits, it does not fit with the stated purpose of the permit.)

"Is there a member of the Beach Management Working Group at this meeting?" Response: “No.” (IPJI note: Six years ago, the JIA’s Conservation Plan called for the creation of a Beach Management Working Group to help create a comprehensive Beach Management Plan for JI State Park. No such group has been formed by the JIA) The question was repeated and the same response was given.

"Is there a Beach Management Working Group?" Response: “No. Our approach is to establish ad hoc advisory groups on a case by case basis. We have formed advisory groups related to specific beach issues. We prefer to form those with the expertise of stakeholder engagement specific to the project.”

Regarding JIA seeking permission through the application for the removal of “nuisance sand” from hardscapes and turf: The permit includes a request to remove up to 10 dump truck loads of sand. Committee members expressed concerns about the amount of sand to be moved in the use of mechanized equipment for the sand removal.

Committee discussion:
After considerable confusion about the Rules of Order and what appeared to be a reluctance to approve the permit, a motion was made to “table” the decision for the next regularly scheduled meeting or the next called meeting, pending further documentation. The type of documentation required was not specified.

Media Coverage:

JIA Seeks Beach Stewardship Permit
St. Simons Islander
March 27, 2017
Page One     Page Two

CommitteeTables Broad Jekyll Permit Application
The Brunswick News
April 29, 2017

Shore protection tables JIA request for a general permit
St. Simons Islander
May 1, 2017
Page One       Page Two     Page Three

Editorial: Broad Beach Permit on Jekyll Island Bad Precedent to Set
The Brunswick News
May 2, 2017

Letter to the Editor: General Beach Permit Should be Denied
The Brunswick News
May 4, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Beach Permit Should not be Approved
The Brunswick News
May 5, 2017

Decisions Under Beach Permit Could be Questionable
The Brunswick News
May 6, 2017

Letter to the Editor regarding the JIA's General Permit Application by Mindy Egan
St. Simons Islander
May 8, 2017
Page One        Page Two     Page Three

Letters to the Editor regarding JIA General Permit Application
Jekyll's Golden Islander
May 11, 2017