Brown Bag Lecture Series

The GA Coastal Management Program is pleased to offer the Brownbag Lecture Series to provide professional development opportunities and information sharing amongst coastal management professionals.  The intent is to highlight the work of resource managers, researchers, and practitioners focusing on natural and cultural coastal resources. 

Please see below for upcoming events.  Unless otherwise noted the Brownbags will be held at the GA DNR Coastal Regional Headquarters at One Conservation Way, Brunswick, GA 31520 in the Susan Shipman Environmental Learning Center.  

If you are interested in presenting at a Brownbag please contact Kelly Hill at or 912-264-7218.

And as always, feel free to bring your lunch and a friend!


March 27th, 2024 | 12pm-1pm | Birds Georgia and Project Safe Flight | Sarah Tolve, Birds Georgia

Birds Georgia is a member-supported, 501c3 nonprofit organization building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement. 

Birds Georgia has been studying collision-related bird deaths through the Project Safe Flight Program since 2015. Project Safe Flight is a conservation effort to further understand the issue of bird/building collisions in the Atlanta metro area as well as in Brunswick and Savannah. 

The goal of this project is to determine what species are colliding with buildings, how many birds are affected, what parts of town are problematic, and what can be done to make Georgia's cities more bird friendly. Since fall 2015, more than 3,000 birds, representing 156 different species, have been collected.

Calendar Link: Birds Georgia and Project Safe Flight

tagged birds

December 6th, 2023 |12pm-1pm| Exploring Coastal Resources Division's Red Drum Projects | Ryan Harrell and Chris Kalinowsky, CRD Marine Fisheries

Ryan Harrell will present on An Overview of the Marine Sportfish Population Health Survey

GA DNR Coastal Resources Division’s Marine Sportfish Population Health Survey began in 2003 to collect timely and relevant data on fish species popular with recreational inshore anglers. This entanglement gear survey is conducted annually in three of Georgia’s estuaries. Data collected are used to create long term uninterrupted indexes of abundance, monitor trends in populations and determine the efficacy of current management practices. Marine Fisheries Biologist Ryan Harrell will discuss the history of the survey, how the data is used, and the need to continue long-term monitoring of Georgia’s estuarine fish species.

Chris Kalinowsky will present on Georgia’s Red Drum Acoustic Tagging Escapement Project 

In late 2019, the GA DNR Coastal Resources Division began an autonomous acoustic telemetry project to study the movement of Red Drum in Wassaw Sound (Chatham County, GA). Autonomous acoustic telemetry is the use of stationary receivers to monitor the movements of animals tagged with coded acoustic transmitters. Acoustic telemetry studies can provide some of the same types of information as conventional tagging studies, with the added benefit of providing more detailed information about specific movements, seasonality, aggregation areas, home ranges, and interstate migrations. Data from this study will help us improve our understanding of and management efforts on Red Drum in Georgia. Marine Fisheries Biologist Chris Kalinowsky will discuss the history of the study and provide a summary of some of the preliminary findings.

Calendar Link: CRD Red Drum Projects

Red Drum               

November 7th, 2023|12pm-1pm| Commercial Fishing Data Collection in GA and the Challenges Facing the Commercial Fishing Industry| Julie Califf, CRD Marine Fisheries Biologist

The Coastal Resources Division's commercial fisheries data collection program has historically been primarily geared towards resource management. Over the last decade, the data collected by the program has been used to address new challenges, particularly those related to the economic viability of Georgia's fishing industry in the face of natural disasters and competition from imported seafood. Biologist Julie Califf will discuss the history of the data collection program and how the data are used by managers and fishery participants.

Calendar Link: GA Commercial Fisheries

September 12th, 2023| 12pm-1pm | The East Brunswick Tide Control Project| Garrow Alberson, P.E.(City of Brunswick) and Ben Pierce, P.E. (GWES)

The City of Brunswick’s (City) Stormwater Masterplan (SWMP) updated in 2020 describes tide control as a growing challenge for the City’s stormwater management and infrastructure maintenance program. The SWMP identifies priority areas where improvements may have significant impacts on infrastructure performance and community safety and well-being. The City was awarded a Coastal Incentive Grant through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division to address tide control issues at stormwater outfalls along the City’s eastern boundary. The City implemented the East Brunswick Tide Control project to address tide control at three (3) priority areas identified in the SWMP. Project plans were completed to include outfall improvements at 10 City stormwater outfalls. Six (6) are located in the Riverside neighborhood. One (1) is located at the east end of Parkwood Drive. Two (2) are located along US Highway 17 near the Lanier Plaza. All outfall improvements include the installation of a Tideflex brand exterior check valve and end treatment. Standard end treatments, including headwalls and rip rap are included at all outfalls.

Calendar Link: East Brunswick Tide Control

July 11th, 2023| 12pm-1pm | The Coastal Equity and Resilience (CEAR) Hub: Water Level Monitoring and More | Dr. Russell Clark of the Georgia Institute of Technology 

The CEAR Hub is a project that joins community organizations, local governments, and educational institutions together to develop the knowledge, tools, and strategies that make our communities more resilient. CEAR Hub partners work alongside members of vulnerable communities to create fair and just solutions to the climate challenges through community-led research, training, and outreach. This presentation will review the history of the Smart Sea Level Sensors program based in Savannah and update on new activities along the entire Georgia coast. (

Calendar Link: CEAR Hub Brownbag

CEAR Hub Team Members

October 28th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| Meet some of CRD's Young Professionals Through Their Work and Research| Hailey Blische, B.J. Hilton, and Dillon Metz

Come learn about fisheries research and programs from the Marine Fisheries Section at the GA Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division.  Staff will discuss several research projects and ongoing monitoring programs including presentations on:

  • Distribution and detection of American eels in Mississippi- Haley Blische
  • GADNR Coastal Resources Division's Ecological Monitoring Trawl Survey: It's Purpose, Procedures, and Benefits for Research Management- B.J. Hilton
  • Georgia's Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project- Dillon Metz

Calendar Link: CRD Marine Fisheries Presentations


August 26th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| Boat Stories: Leveraging Cultural Heritage to Support Sustainable Coastal Communities| Dr. Jennifer Sweeney Tookes and Mr. Bryan Fluech

This collaborative research project focus on the cultural significance of commercial fishing boats to coastal communities. Tookes and Fluech trained student researchers to conduct oral history interviews with commercial fishers across Georgia to gather important data while providing scientific research training to students.  The project identified local perspectives on planning and development regarding vessels, and suggestions for supporting future resilience of the industry. By focusing on these key entities around which commercial fishers’ lives and businesses have revolved, we are preserving local heritage while simultaneously elucidating realistic approaches for sustaining the industry through future planning and development.  The results of this research are available to the general public and managers through wide-ranging outreach via the national NOAA oral history archive ( and a Story Map (

Calendar Link: Boat Stories Brownbag


July 29th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| Quantifying oyster reef development and nekton use of habitat restored using traditional and alternative substrates in the Skidaway River| Cameron Atkinson, Savannah State University

The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is an important ecosystem engineer which has experienced declines throughout most of its range. Efforts to restore oyster reefs in Georgia have increased in popularity over the past few decades but there have been some challenges with constructing successful reef complexes. The success of the traditionally utilized restoration substrate, bagged oyster shell, has been hindered by the high sedimentation environment of Georgia’s estuaries and the diminishing availability of relic oyster shell. There is a need for alternative restoration substrates to be tested alongside the bagged shell substrate. Therefore, our research group is currently investigating the use of a novel restoration substrate, Oyster Catcher. The Oyster Catcher substrate consists of jute fibers which are coated in cement and molded into various designs. In May 2021, we constructed 6, 2 m X 10 m reefs (3 Bagged Shell & 3 Oyster Catcher) in the Skidaway River along the shoreline of the Skidaway Island State Park. Our group has been working to quantify the oyster reef development and the provisioning of nekton habitat at these restored reef sites with the aim of developing a better understanding of which substrate type could be the most beneficial for future restoration projects in Georgia.    

Calendar Link: Oyster Reef Development Brownbag

April 20th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| A Virtual Tour of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary| Superintendent Stan Rogers & Research Ecologist Kim Roberson

This presentation will provide a virtual tour of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) including an overview of ongoing and new sanctuary programs and initiatives. To understand how the programs and initiatives support the management goals of the sanctuary, sanctuary representatives will start at the beginning of why GRNMS was designated in 1981, discuss major milestones over the years, and then provide the latest on resource protection, scientific research and monitoring, and education and outreach initiatives including upcoming condition report update and management plan review.


GRNMS, off the coast of Georgia, contains one of the largest nearshore, live-bottom reefs of the southeastern United States. Located 19 miles offshore from Sapelo Island, GRNMS is currently the only protected natural reef on the continental shelf off the Georgia coast and one of only a few marine protected areas in the ocean between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NOAA designated the sanctuary in 1981 to protect the quality of this unique and fragile ecological community. The approximately 22-square-mile sanctuary is just a small part of U.S. territorial waters, yet its value as a natural marine habitat is recognized nationally and internationally.

Calendar Link: Gray's Reef Brownbag


March 29th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| Evaluating Best Practices in Dune Restoration| Shannon Matzke, GA State Sea Grant Fellow/GADNR Coastal Resources Division 

Coastal communities are developing rapidly in the face of increased risks of sea level rise and hurricanes stemming from anthropogenic climate change. In the US, erosion is projected to cost $530 million/year in property loss, but beaches and dune systems can minimize these losses. Dunes are vital to coastal protection, particularly when they are colonized by native plant species that stabilize sand with their root systems and accumulate sand by trapping particles with their stems and leaves. Dune construction can be used as a nature-based solution to climate change, but more studies are needed to fully understand the best practices that should be associated with vegetating constructed dunes.

To gain more insight into dune restoration, a Coastal Incentive Grant funded team from Georgia Southern and Tybee Island conducted a 15 month study on Tybee Island, GA, the site of new dune construction. They examined the effects of planting density on plant survival and growth and on sand accretion, and they compared accretion rates to those on pre-existing dunes on Tybee and unvegetated sites on the constructed dune.

While specific restoration strategies must be viewed through the lens of management goals, the team’s findings are consistent with the literature and have proven to work well on Tybee Island. The results of this study provide a framework both to future restoration projects on Tybee and to those taking place in other coastal communities.

Calendar Link: Dune Restoration Brownbag

Dune vegetation monitoring

February 28th, 2022| 12pm-1pm| The Georgia Flood Literacy Project | Meghan Angelina, GADNR Coastal Resources Division Wetlands Biologist

Terms related to flood hazards are being used inconsistently and interchangeably among professionals and the public. This presentation will review the Georgia Flood Literacy Project, an effort to unite 30 professionals from various sectors of the field to see what flood terms are being used and how they are being used.

One of the major goals of this group, known as the Flood Literacy Taskforce, was to work toward clear, consistent, widely applicable, and scientifically accurate definitions of flood terminology. These terms were compiled into professional and public versions of a Glossary of Flood Terms and an ArcGIS StoryMap was created to highlight the project and serve as a resource for flood terms.

Calendar Link: Georgia Flood Literacy Project Brownbag .ics