Coastal Resources Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
One Conservation Way, Brunswick, GA 31520
To learn more about Georgia's Artificial Reefs visit the "Offshore Artificial Reef" page
Watch a video of subway cars being deployed as artificial reef material and see them underwater several years later. Subway Car Video (youtube 2:36 ) 
GA DNR/Coastal Resources Division staff recently honored Glynn Academy student Nathaniel Thompson for his artwork that was selected as the CoastFest 2016 logo. Thompson’s entry was chosen from the more than 1200 entries submitted by art classes in Glynn, Camden and McIntosh schools that were on display during CoastFest 2015. Since 1998, an estimated 12,000 pieces of student art have been exhibited during the annual CoastFest event. Nathaniel will be honored at CoastFest 2016 which is scheduled for October 1, 2016 at the GA DNR’s Coastal Regional Headquarters adjacent to the Sidney Lanier Bridge.
The Mission of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division (CRD) is to balance coastal development and protection of the coast's natural assets, socio-cultural heritage, and recreational resources for the benefit of present and future generations. A significant tool used by CRD to accomplish its mission is the Georgia Coastal Management Program (GCMP) under the authority of the Georgia Coastal Management Act (OCGA 12-5-320 et. Seq.) Included in GCMP are Coastal Incentive Grants (CIGs), now entering their 19th year of providing financial support to research and coastal communities.
CIGs are competitive sub-grants made possible through congressional appropriations to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act. These sub-grants may be awarded to qualified county and municipal governments, regional commissions, state-affiliated research or educational institutions, or state agencies (except GDNR), provided the projects take place entirely within the eleven-county service area which includes Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Charlton, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties.
Projects that have been funded include low-cost construction of public access points along our rivers and estuaries, disaster and resiliency planning for the counties and municipalities, sustainable growth and green development inventories and planning for local governments, and a variety of oceans and wetlands research that benefit coastal resource management.
Two recent examples include a $52,000 grant to the Town of Thunderbolt in 2012. City officials conducted an impervious surface study and developed a comprehensive stormwater inventory and condition assessment, which were used to develop its stormwater program. Thunderbolt involved stakeholders in prioritizing drainage system issues thereby encouraging community buy-in. The approach was very successful and easily transferable. In 2014 Brunswick was awarded a similar grant to develop its stormwater program.
A 2015 example currently being used to better understand coastal dynamics was completed by University of Georgia researchers Drs. Clark Alexander and Christine Hladik. They conducted high-resolution mapping of estuarine vegetation, elevation, salinity and bathymetry in five major coastal Georgia rivers. Their vegetation classifications significantly improved the National Wetland Index database by providing detailed discrimination of estuarine emergent plant species. Collected elevations helped fine-tune LIDAR-derived measurements thereby reducing the error of known estuarine elevations in the project area. The upriver extent of salinity penetration in each river was determined and bathymetry data was collected. These new observations provide the tools necessary to pursue more detailed ecological modeling of coastal marshes such as the Sea Levels Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM).
Projects such as the Town of Thunderbolts and that of Drs. Alexander and Hladik allow coastal managers to proactively plan for marsh migration pathways, mitigate future conflicts in land use planning, and identify where limited restoration resources will have the greatest benefit. Since 1998, CIG sub-grants have funded over $17 million in projects, each leveraging at least 100% match through in-kind services or direct funding, bringing the total economic impact of this program to over $34 million. The ecological benefits are uncalculatable.