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Initiative to Protect Jekyll Isl and
IPJI Newsletter 
Spring 2019
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Dear friends of Jekyll Island,

We hope this newsletter will help those of you who haven't been to the island recently get an idea of what has been going on and what is "in the works" on Jekyll.

We welcome your comments or questions regarding the newsletter and appreciate your continued support of IPJI's effort to preserve Jekyll's traditional character, wildlife habitats and natural communities.
"Going Home to Jekyll Island"

"Going Home to Jekyll Island"
As a special treat for Jekyll fans, IPJI brings you Going Home to Jekyll Island, a video written and performed by Jeff Catlett. Jeff's poetic lyrics and magical guitar are sure to touch the hearts and souls of all. For, as the saying goes, "once your feet have touched the sands of Jekyll Island you will always come back." Jeff and his wife Karen are long time visitors to Jekyll from Tennessee and have advocated for Jekyll remaining a place that soothes the mind and soul.   
 
David and Mindy Egan, Co-Directors, IPJI
degan1@bellsouth.net
912-635-2167 (H)   912-577-4655 (C)

"Once your feet touch the sands of Jekyll Island,  
you'll always come back."
Jekyll's Golden Islander
 Shore Protection Act  Decimated
 
Ready for some eye-popping news? Just to two years ago, Hurricane Irma clearly demonstrated the fragility of Georgia's barrier islands and the risks that come with building too close to the shore, yet on April 2nd, the Georgia General Assembly, in its infinite wisdom, passed a bill (HB 445) that guts the state's Shore Protection Act by reducing its jurisdiction to a mere 25 feet from ordinary high water, weakening protection of the dunes and allowing development dangerously close to rising sea levels.
 
Stunning too is the fact that the state just spent eight million taxpayer dollars to stabilize sections of Jekyll's beach along a developed area ravaged by Irma but nonetheless adopted legislation that facilitates oceanfront building. Good grief, where's the fiscal sense in that!?
 
Worse yet is the General Assembly's neglect of state-funded, cutting-edge research done by coastal geologists that provides a science-based method for mapping erosion rates along Georgia's entire shoreline, allowing the jurisdictional boundary of the Shore Protection Act (SPA) to be tailored to the varying degree of coastal vulnerability rather than using the "one size (25') fits all" approach adopted by the General Assembly. Neighboring states are already using scientific data on erosion to strengthen their versions of the SPA, but in Georgia the majority of state legislators apparently believe that the threat posed to our coast by sea level rise only exists in the minds of scientists.
 
So, how does the recently passed 'Shore Destruction Act' affect Jekyll Island? Well, for example, the pristine oceanfront land between Shell Road and the beachfront park just south of the Holiday Inn is no longer within the jurisdiction of the SPA. Formerly, the SPA's jurisdiction in that area abutted Beachview Drive, but now it will be seaward of the bike path and just 25 feet from the landward-most dunes, making possible commercial/residential development of this beachfront area prized by the public for its wide-open view of the ocean. 
 
IPJI thanks its members who, in response to our Action Alerts, contacted state officials in an effort to prevent the passage of HB 445. Unfortunately, while the final vote was close, our efforts did not succeed. The bill is now in the hands of Governor Brian Kemp, who has the authority to veto this dangerous piece of legislation. If you are a resident of Georgia, we encourage you to support the petition started by the Center for a Sustainable Coast, urging Gov. Kemp to veto HB 445. To sign the petition, click here.
 
For an insightful commentary on the shore protection issue, see the column in the Savannah Morning News by David Kyler, Executive Director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast: 

Capacity Study Says Jekyll Is Nearly 'Maxed Out' 
The Jekyll Island Carrying Capacity and Infrastructure Study, conducted by Sand County Studios and completed in October of 2018, was commissioned to help the JIA Board make informed decisions about land use, density, development projects and amenity enhancements. Defining carrying capacity as the number of individuals that can be supported within a given area without degrading the natural, social, cultural, and economic environment, the study examined current conditions on Jekyll Island and made a number of recommendations regarding population management and further development of the island.
 
Read more for some of the highlights of the study.   
Site of Marina Condos
Photo by James Holland
Development Forges Ahead on Jekyll Island
On January 15 th, a 48-unit condominium project on a 9.6 acre area next to the Jekyll Harbor Marina won preliminary approval from the Jekyll Island Authority board. The condos, which are expected to be priced in the $400,000 range, will be about 1,700 square feet each and will be clustered in a half-dozen or so buildings. Despite a warning in the recently completed Jekyll Island Capacity Study that any new redevelopment or new development could put increased pressure on infrastructure--water/sewer, traffic and roads--and Jekyll's environment, the project seems likely to win final approval by the JIA, making it the third residential project on Jekyll Island in the past four years and bringing the total number of new housing units to 209.
 
Going north to roundabout
Third Hotel to Open in Jekyll's Beach Village 
 
Construction of a 107-room Hilton Home 2 Suites in Jekyll's beach village is past the half-way point, with a grand opening expected this summer. An extended-stay hotel, Jekyll's Home 2 Suites provides a full kitchen, has daily, weekly and monthly rates, and is pet-friendly. Room rates are refreshingly modest, especially compared to those offered by the other two hotels in the beach village, the high-end Westin hotel and the even more expensive Jekyll Island Ocean Club Resort.
The 3-story building is located opposite the oceanfront Westin hotel. Its entrance faces the rear of the retail shops, and its west side hugs Beachview Drive.
 
 
Widening Gap at  
Driftwood Beach:  
New Mini Island Being Formed
 
The breach near the south end of Driftwood Beach  
has continued to widen and deepen since created in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, allowing ocean water to flow into Clam Creek marsh during unusually high tides. It looks like Mother Nature has decided to create a channel there, which, if lasting, will result in a separate, Little Jekyll Island surrounded by a combination of the Atlantic Ocean, the Jekyll Sound and Clam Creek.   
  
The two bridges on the Clam Creek bike path, which were washed out by ocean water during Hurricane Irma and are located perpendicular to the newly cut channel, have been rebuilt thanks to state and federal funds secured by the JIA.
Rejuvenated Rock Wall to Protect  Jekyll's Beachfront 
 
This past year, Jekyll's rock revetment, running from Driftwood Beach to Thorne Lane just south of the newly built town house community called The Cottages, was restored to its original height of approximately 10 feet at a cost of $5,000,000, paid for by state funds. The revetment, which was initially installed following Hurricane Dora (1964), had lost much of its effectiveness over time due to erosion and the sinking of the rocks, a fact highlighted in recent years by the impact of Hurricanes Mathew and Irma.
 
Phase Two of the revetment project includes placement of about 120,000 cubic yards of beach-compatible material along the landward side of the restored revetment, with a geotextile filter underlying the sand to allow water that tops the revetment during extreme storm events to return to the ocean without washing out the sand at the same time. Native vegetation will be planted along the sandy area landward of the revetment, and fencing will be placed where appropriate. The project also includes the installation/rehabilitation of public access paths and crossovers at the east end of Barron, Bliss, Nelson, Tyler, Porter, Ellis, Albright, Stewart, Austin and Gould Lanes.
Jekyll's Feline Superstar Becomes a 'Philanthrocat'

Hi! I would like to introduce myself to IPJI's friends. My name is Marty Jekyll. I'm a CAT, but I'm not just ANY CAT. I am FAMOUS - I'm known as the ambassador of Jekyll Island, the guardian of the Pier Road shops, and even the MAYOR of Jekyll Island!  
 
Read more to find out how I got to be FAMOUS!
Corsair Park
Good News for  
Jekyll's Beachgoers 
 
Two pieces of good news for Jekyll's beachgoers!
 
A brand new oceanfront park is now open at the southernmost end of the beach village, adjacent to the Jekyll Oceanfront Suites. Named the Corsair Park, the facility has two picnic pavilions with grills, restrooms, and a handicap access ramp.
 
A major renovation is nearing completion at the popular north parking lot, just south of the  Holiday Inn Resort.The park, which was the temporary site of Jekyll's retail shops while t he beach village was under construction, will have six picnic pavilions, restrooms, and a rebuilt access ramp to the beach. The area will be landscaped to match the vegetation at Great Dunes Park and has been named Oceanview Park.  
Jekyll Sunshine   
Harvested for Energy

The JIA has entered into a lease agreement with Radiance Solar to construct a 6-acre solar farm on the site of a former landfill located to the east of Old Plantation Road. The facility will provide about 1 megawatt of electricity. The solar farm has recently been completed.   
 
 
Wanderer Memorial Recreated on Jekyll's Southend 
 
The Wanderer Memory Trail opened in November, 2018 adjacent to the location of the original Wanderer memorial in the St. Andrews Picnic Area on Jekyll's south end. A not to be missed addition to Jekyll's historical sites, the trail includes a number of stations at which exhibits tell the story of the captives on the slave ship Wanderer, which landed on Jekyll in 1858 after completing a harrowing journey from west Africa.
 
The Wanderer Memory Trail expands the original memorial into an interactive and more extensive educational experience suitable for all ages, giving visitors an understanding of the misery the captives endured as they were transported from Africa to Jekyll Island and after they landed there. Also noted are the contributions the Wanderer's survivors made to the communities in which they lived, as well as the lasting impact the survivors have had on coastal Georgia and elsewhere.
 
Though the Wanderer Memory Trail is designed to be self-guided,but tours are available as part of special programming offered by the Jekyll Island Authority's history staff.
 
Click here to view a photo gallery of the Memory Trail.
New Museum Nearing Completion
 
The $3 million-plus MOSAIC museum is scheduled to open on April 27th on the site of Jekyll's former history museum. The MOSAIC, which will showcase the history of Jekyll Island, the island's natural resources, and the historic building in which it will be housed, will include a variety of interactive experiences that will take place under a large display screen illustrating Jekyll Island's natural beauty. Among the attractions at the new museum will be a Red Bug ride experience, a 1740s colonial era reproduction sailboat, a children's play-scape that will include nature experiences, a Native American house, and a replica of a dugout canoe.
Fuel Laden Boat Capsizes
 
On December 19th, a 56-foot vessel named the "Miss Addison" ran aground in the Intracoastal Waterway adjacent to Jekyll's airport and ended up lying on its side when the crew tried a maneuver to free it from where it was stuck. The boat was carrying around 3,500 gallons of fuel when it capsized, some of which initially spilled into the Waterway but was later contained. Removal of the vessel was supposed to be completed prior to Christmas, but, unfortunately, did not take place until late January.