Changing Coastline:As impacts from sea level rise loom, we are taking steps to protect our coastal landscape.
One Hundred Miles helps coastal communities understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change, which include sea level rise and increased storm strength and surge.
What’s at Stake
Climate change poses a significant threat to Georgia’s coastal communities. Our low-lying barrier islands and mainland
face unique and complex challenges including eroding coastlines, tidal flooding, extreme weather events, and demands on infrastructure. These impacts will particularly affect vulnerable populations who have struggled for decades to remain along the Georgia coast and preserve their way of life.
While predicting sea level rise is challenging, it is realistic to plan for a 0.5 – 2 foot rise by 2050, and a 1 – 4 foot rise by 2100. Threats like sea level rise, increased storm strength and surge, and rapid shoreline change must be taken into account when making decisions about the location of future land developments.
What We’re Doing
One Hundred Miles serves as a conduit between the scientific community, our local governments, and other conservation organizations to ensure climate change impact scenarios are considered when planning for the future. We work with our partners to support efforts to curb energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We are also working to ensure that local and state policies and funding priorities account for the dynamics of a changing coastline.
Together, our efforts will lead to a shared understanding of the impacts of climate change and, as a result, the implementation of effective policies across coastal counties.
Island Managers Meetings -In 2016, in light of Hurricane Matthew, One Hundred Miles convened a group of more than 30 natural resource managers from across Georgia’s coast. We met on St. Catherines Island and focused the discussion on restoration and how we can increase efforts to work together and learn from each other’s experiences to protect our coast’s special places.
In 2014, we met on Cumberland Island and sought to better understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change. We plan to hold these meetings annually with the goal of strengthening a dialogue between our 14 major barrier islands, only four of which are accessible by car. Most importantly, these workgroups will foster collaboration and conversation between those with first-hand knowledge of our unique resources.
Shoreline Stabilization – Traditionally, erosion-prone banks have been stabilized with bulkheads or rip rap. These techniques result in shoreline hardening because they replace natural marsh mud and grasses with wood, concrete, or rock.
Using hard materials to stabilize an eroding shoreline is sometimes the only option. But in other cases, alternatives to shoreline hardening provide an opportunity to stabilize without disrupting the natural ecosystem function.
One Hundred Miles is currently researching the economic and ecological case for alternatives, including living shorelines that stabilize the shore using native marsh grasses and oyster shell. Learn more about living shorelines in Georgia.