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DNR asks help assessing damage, restricts some recovery
Because of its size and location, DNR will have to agree if anything is to be rebuilt where the old Sunbury Lodge stood before Hurricane Irma. - photo by Photo provided.

If you live in coastal Bryan County, the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources wants your help assessing damage from Hurricane Irma on the coast.

The department has also issued guidelines on the proper way to remove debris and begin recovery to those coastal areas impacted.

Irma washed away the public courtesy dock at Sunbury. It also destroyed a longstanding landmark - the nearby Sunbury Lodge.

According to a press release issued by the DNR initial assessment of damage indicates that storm surge may have had greater impact than last year’s Hurricane Matthew.

CRD Director Spud Woodward said, "Storm surge, flooding, and high winds have caused damage to many structures located in Georgia’s tidal waterways, over marshlands and along barrier island beaches,"

Due to the damage, Woodward said his staff will be working with public, commercial and government entities to help with recovery.

Woodward said the CRD has initiated orders placing a moratorium on nonessential construction or alteration within the jurisdiction of the Coastal Marshland Protection Act and Shore Protection Act. The moratorium is effective immediately and will be in place until further notice.

"We want to focus our efforts on recovery; therefore, action on non-essential projects currently in the queue will be delayed," he said.

Woodward added the CRD needs information about the extent of the damages. He said a call center will be activated Monday to gather information about impacts to beach front property, private docks, bank stabilizations, marinas, commercial docks, or other structures within coastal waters, marshlands, or along barrier island beaches.

Staff will also be available to answer questions about permitting/regulatory processes and needs for areas impacted within the jurisdiction of CMPA or SPA. The call center will operate from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The number is 912-264-7218.

The CRD has issued the following guidelines for cleanup. The guidelines should still be coordinated with local governmental officials regarding upland disposal of debris.

Debris and boat removal:

The department has activated and emergency order that allows for the removal of debris from the marsh, waterways and beachfront properties and moving it to an upland area. For information regarding upland disposal methods, contact your local government officials.

Beach sand removal:

The order allows for relocation of beach sand to adjacent dunes or beaches using hand tools. If mechanized equipment is needed to relocate large amounts, coordination with the department is required. Sand must be free of man-made debris such as trash and construction materials.

Temporary sand bags:

In response to erosion caused by Irma, the department can provide individual approvals for temporary placement of sand bags. The sand bags are to provide temporary protection of upland properties until a long-term solution can be properly designed and approved. Contact the department for assistance.

Repairs to docks or marinas:

Prior to undertaking major repairs or reconstruction of docks or marinas, property owners or managers must coordinate with the department. Major repairs include the use of heavy equipment. To facilitate the department’s review, property owners and managers should document existing conditions by taking photos, locating any prestorm photos, any previous authorizations, and assessing what is needed to return property to pre-storm conditions.

Erosion control structures

Prior to undertaking major repairs or reconstruction of erosion control structures property owners or managers must coordinate with the department.

Repairs to dikes, roads, etc:

Prior to undertaking major repairs or reconstruction of dikes, roads, causeways, culverts, and bridges in, on, or within the vicinity of the marsh, property owners or managers must coordinate with the department.

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