Public works personnel from cities and counties all around the state visited Jekyll Island this week but didn’t leave without leaving their mark.

A dozen or so attendees of the American Public Works Association’s annual conference stopped by East Beach near the Myrtle Street beach access Friday to replace some old sand fencing.

“Glynn County is supplying the material, and it’s a Glynn County project, but the labor is being provided by APWA as part of their volunteer project,” said Ben Pierce, roads and drainage division manager for Glynn County Public Works.

Chuck Mathis, APWA district director, said the fencing not only helps build up dunes but can also stop visitors from trekking through the dunes, which can dislodge sand speed up erosion.

“This is the area where it’s eroding away at. On the other side, people aren’t walking through there,” Mathis said. “But because of this parking lot right here, people are taking the path of least resistance instead of going through the boardwalk entrance.”

Mathis said that APWA got involved with the sand fencing effort after their annual convention on Jekyll Island, where they chose the project as their yearly sustainability initiative.

Beachgoers complained last year when they put up fencing, said Lawrence Jeter, APWA President, and that the fences were eventually knocked down.

“Now we’re back, and we’re going to do the fencing a little bit different to make it harder to knock down,” Jeter said.

Friday was the last day of the conference, Pierce said. The sustainability project is generally the closeout event each year.

The conference offers a variety of continuing education classes that draw public works employees from around the state.

It took place at Sea Palms Resort on St. Simons Island last year but moved to the Jekyll Island Convention Center when it outgrew the old venue.

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