Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday announced an additional $4 million in funding for Jekyll Island to address urgent restoration needs following the impact of two hurricanes in the past 13 months.
Funding will come by way of a transfer from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to pay for critical and urgent restoration needs on Jekyll Island, according to a release from Deal’s office.
“Due to hurricanes Matthew and Irma, there is an immediate need for the rehabilitation of the rock revetment and restoration of armament on the north portion of Jekyll Island,” Deal said. “I’ve allocated $4 million to cover these immediate needs and will seek supplemental funding in the amended budget to assist other beachfront areas impacted by hurricane- related erosion.”
The money comes a little more than a week after Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, said during a recent Jekyll Island Authority board meeting that the initial $4 million the authority secured from the state to repair shoreline erosion on the north end of Jekyll Island would not be enough for the repairs needed.
Hooks mentioned during that meeting that the authority was involved with several local groups in contacting the state and congressional delegation and Senate offices to see if there is a way to marry federal action with state action to address the erosion that now threatens many of the lessees on Jekyll Island.
Hooks added the Hurricane erosion is an issue beyond Jekyll Island and impacts St. Simons and Sea islands. The authority has also been in communication with the heads of the Glynn County Board of Commissioners, the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Natural Resources.
Hooks was also hoping for a visit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but there is no word yet on whether that will happen.
The potential project area for reinforcing the existing revetment extends from Dexter Lane northward to the south end of Driftwood Beach, near the old north picnic area.
Applied Technology and Management, a design, planning and engineering firm based in Jacksonville presented its working plan in September.
Ben Carswell, conservationist with the Jekyll Island Authority, said during the authority’s recent meeting the firm is working on the preliminary design to address the revetment erosion. He stressed stakeholder engagement will be part of the process.
Carswell said they are only talking about restoring the existing revetment near the Driftwood Beach area that has the older single-family homes. The working timeline for the project, he added, would be about 18 months.