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Georgia Sound: News, Notes, & Updates

Reef Blog July 29, 2016

Living the Good Life: Subway Cars are Alive and Thriving!!!!
 
The GADNR Offshore Artificial Reef Project covers ~116 square miles and consists of 20 offshore reefs, two “beach reefs,” and eight Department of Defense Tactical Air Crew Training System Towers. Reef Projects have thrived over the years due to the generosity of its many donors providing funding and/or materials of opportunity. These materials play an important role in the State’s marine fisheries and coastal economies. The creation of long-term fisheries habitat also provides increased opportunities for recreational fishing and SCUBA diving along the coast. 

Each summer staff conduct offshore artificial reef monitoring via SCUBA diving at as many reef sites as possible. Through diver surveys staff can assess material structural integrity, species abundance and diversity, as well as fish and invertebrate biomass accumulation over time.

In July of 2016 staff visited the JY, DRH, HLHA, and L Reef sites in coastal Georgia waters to assess the condition of subway cars donated by the New York City Transit Authority that were deployed from 2008-2010. Through monitoring of these materials GADNR has found that some cars remain 100% intact while others have collapsed (see photographs) but still remain active red snapper habitat. 

These recent dives verify that regardless of condition the subway cars have created vital habitat for numerous fish, coral, and invertebrate species. 
 
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car with spadefish, black seabass, and white telesto seen in the photo.
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car with spadefish, black seabass, and white telesto seen in the photo.
 
JY Reef subway car collapsed and red snapper seen over habitat.
JY Reef subway car collapsed and red snapper seen over habitat.
 
These recent dives verify that regardless of condition the subway cars have created vital habitat for numerous fish, coral, and invertebrate species.
 
JY Reef subway car collapsed but one end of the car remains upright. Tomtate and red snapper seen over the collapsed subway car.
JY Reef subway car collapsed but one end of the car remains upright. Tomtate and red snapper seen over the collapsed subway car
 
DRH Reef subway car collapsed with red snapper seen over habitat.
DRH Reef subway car collapsed with red snapper seen over habitat.  
 
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car with tomtate and white telesto seen in the photo.
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car with tomtate and white telesto seen in the photo.
 
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car
HLHA Reef collapsed subway car
 

To learn more about Georgia's Artificial Reefs visit the "Offshore Artificial Reef" page

Watch a video of subway cars being deployed as artificial reef material and see them underwater several years later. Subway Car Video (youtube 2:36 )


CoastFest 2016 Student Logo Artist Honored

April 22, 2016

GA DNR/Coastal Resources Division staff recently honored Glynn Academy student Nathaniel Thompson for his artwork that was selected as the CoastFest 2016 logo. Thompson’s entry was chosen from the more than 1200 entries submitted by art classes in Glynn, Camden and McIntosh schools that were on display during CoastFest 2015.  Since 1998,  an estimated 12,000 pieces of student art have been exhibited during the annual CoastFest event. Nathaniel will be honored at CoastFest 2016 which is scheduled for October 1, 2016 at the GA DNR’s Coastal Regional Headquarters adjacent to the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

 


Georgia DNR Coastal Incentive Grant Program

March 16, 2016


The Mission of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division (CRD) is to balance coastal development and protection of the coast's natural assets, socio-cultural heritage, and recreational resources for the benefit of present and future generations. A significant tool used by CRD to accomplish its mission is the Georgia Coastal Management Program (GCMP) under the authority of the Georgia Coastal Management Act (OCGA 12-5-320 et. Seq.) Included in GCMP are Coastal Incentive Grants (CIGs), now entering their 19th year of providing financial support to research and coastal communities.

CIGs are competitive sub-grants made possible through congressional appropriations to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act. These sub-grants may be awarded to qualified county and municipal governments, regional commissions, state-affiliated research or educational institutions, or state agencies (except GDNR), provided the projects take place entirely within the eleven-county service area which includes Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Charlton, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties.

Projects that have been funded include low-cost construction of public access points along our rivers and estuaries, disaster and resiliency planning for the counties and municipalities, sustainable growth and green development inventories and planning for local governments, and a variety of oceans and wetlands research that benefit coastal resource management.

Two recent examples include a $52,000 grant to the Town of Thunderbolt in 2012. City officials conducted an impervious surface study and developed a comprehensive stormwater inventory and condition assessment, which were used to develop its stormwater program. Thunderbolt involved stakeholders in prioritizing drainage system issues thereby encouraging community buy-in. The approach was very successful and easily transferable. In 2014 Brunswick was awarded a similar grant to develop its stormwater program.

A 2015 example currently being used to better understand coastal dynamics was completed by University of Georgia researchers Drs. Clark Alexander and Christine Hladik. They conducted high-resolution mapping of estuarine vegetation, elevation, salinity and bathymetry in five major coastal Georgia rivers. Their vegetation classifications significantly improved the National Wetland Index database by providing detailed discrimination of estuarine emergent plant species. Collected elevations helped fine-tune LIDAR-derived measurements thereby reducing the error of known estuarine elevations in the project area. The upriver extent of salinity penetration in each river was determined and bathymetry data was collected. These new observations provide the tools necessary to pursue more detailed ecological modeling of coastal marshes such as the Sea Levels Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM).

Projects such as the Town of Thunderbolts and that of Drs. Alexander and Hladik allow coastal managers to proactively plan for marsh migration pathways, mitigate future conflicts in land use planning, and identify where limited restoration resources will have the greatest benefit. Since 1998, CIG sub-grants have funded over $17 million in projects, each leveraging at least 100% match through in-kind services or direct funding, bringing the total economic impact of this program to over $34 million. The ecological benefits are incalculable.