Our Coast:Our 100 miles are home to some of the most diverse and species-rich ecosystems on the planet.
Once home to Native Americans, Spanish, and French inhabitants, today Georgia’s coast is an unparalleled natural, historical, and cultural wonder of the world. Our extensive dune systems, maritime forests, major riverine systems, and other coastal habitats support critical wildlife habitat for 71 high priority animal species and 91 high priority plant species. Our iconic wildlife includes critically endangered right whales that migrate to offshore calving grounds each winter and loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings that emerge from nests on our barrier island beaches every summer.
Our coast provides clean water for fishing, drinking, swimming, and boating. In fact, the most prominent feature of Georgia’s coast is the nearly 400,000 acres of marshland between its mainland and string of fourteen major barrier islands. This massive ecosystem makes up one-third of the salt marsh remaining on the Eastern Seaboard. In total, our salt marsh, sounds, and mud flats provide a nursery for nearly 70% of the species that are fished off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. This dynamic system sustains commercial and recreational fishing that contribute approximately $400 million a year to Georgia’s economy.
Our coast creates recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Whether kayaking through the salt marsh or watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, Georgia’s coast supplies the backdrop for irreplaceable memories with family and friends. In 2012 alone, nearly 15 million people visited our coast, contributing over $2 billion a year through the tourism industry. Large majorities pointed to our natural resources – and unique ways to connect with these resources – as primary reasons for their trip.
Our coast deserves our pride and needs our stewardship. Please join us and make a difference for our 100 miles. The future of the coast we love depends on the action we take today.