Georgia’s Interconnected Coast:Stories of Georgia’s coast & our interconnected ecosystems.
Georgia’s coast does not exist in isolation, but in the larger context of all our interconnected ecosystems. The loggerhead turtles that nest on our islands roam the planet across our oceans; our vast stretch of maritime forests provide clean air that circulates around the globe; and our estuaries produce nutrients for fish that support entire food chains.
Like the earth, One Hundred Miles is an interconnected group of advocates determined to protect the natural wonders and communities that call one of the most world-renowned ecosystems home.
Georgia and the Atlantic Bight
The South Atlantic Bight extends from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Cape Canaveral, Florida. At its heart, lies Georgia’s coast. On the floor of the Atlantic Bight, live bottom comprised of algae, animals, and rock reefs comprise 20% of the shelf bottom and support more than 70% of offshore fisheries.
Because the Georgia coast is the furthest western coastline on the Atlantic seaboard, the water from the Atlantic Bight produces a giant funnel effect. As a result, high tide waters are pushed by the shape of the coastline from North Carolina and Florida, forcing water to gather on top of itself and create six to ten foot tidal changes along Georgia’s coast. Our coast marks the highest tidal fluctuations on the Eastern Seaboard behind the Bay of Fundy in Maine!
The dominant natural force along our coast is the tide. Without the pulsing of Georgia’s tides, our marshes would cease to exist, mollusks would perish, the nurturing grounds of juvenile fish would be lost, and Georgia’s great dunes would blow away in the wind.
At this critical juncture, the Atlantic Bight is in need of protection. The region is experiencing the largest population growth rate in the country and, due to climate change, major storms are becoming more frequent (and the prediction for the coming years is worse). Pollution from industrial and agricultural activity is on the rise, toxic microbial outbreaks and algae blooms are increasing, and development and paving of coastal landscapes are pushing pollutants into our coastal waters.
Because of the importance of Georgia’s coast to the Atlantic Bight, One Hundred Miles is working regionally and collaboratively with groups and concerned citizens in neighboring states to protect and preserve this vast and critically important interconnected ecosystem.