(The Center Square) — The federal government and the state of Georgia are funding a $7.6 million project to return a tributary of the Satilla River to its natural course.
The project reverses artificial alterations made to the tributary nearly a century ago.
More than $1.7 million in grant funding for the project is from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, which voters approved in November 2018. It allocates a portion of sales tax collections from sales at outdoor recreation stores to support parks and trails.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is kicking in the remaining funding.
The project, part of the Corps’ Noyes Cut Ecosystem Restoration Project, will reverse cuts the Corps and logging companies made in the 1930s and 1940s through the tidal salt marsh to facilitate navigation and the river transport of timber on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
“These alterations were well-intentioned at the time,” Kelie Moore, a federal consistency coordinator with DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD), said in an announcement. “However, their residual effects could not have been predicted given the technology of the day.”
To fill the cuts, crews will use riprap — large rocks typically used to protect shoreline structures — to fill Dynamite Cut and Old River Run on Umbrella Creek, a tributary of the Satilla River. Officials anticipate using 8,000 tons for Dynamite Cut and 2,800 tons for Old River Run and say they will be placed to minimize the impact on fish and wildlife and maximize the strength of the cut closure.
Since the structures will be underwater at high tide and exposed at low tide, crews will install navigation aids.
Tyler Jones, a public information officer for the CRD, told The Center Square that the project is a Corps Continuing Authorities Program and requires 75% federal funding and 25% non-federal funding.
The Corps is contributing $2 million through the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 CAP and $3.8 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act money, Jones said. The $1.9 million non-federal share includes $117,000 in state bond funds and $50,000 from the Dover Bluff Hunting and Fishing Club, in addition to the GOSP funds.