In an event held Sept. 14 in the Glover Board Room of Correll Hall, Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions gathered with UGA and government officials to celebrate her city’s partnership with the university over the past two years.
UGA faculty and students have been working with Tybee leaders to develop a range of integrated strategies to increase the island’s resilience in storm and flood events. Known as the Coastal Marsh and Community Resilience Adaptation Project, the project has been funded by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. UGA units such as the Skidaway Institute for Oceanography, Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and multiple academic units have been involved.
“This is just the beginning. It’s really quite exciting to see young people solving these problems,” Sessions said. “I cannot tell you how much we’ve learned together. Every day is more hopeful now, knowing that we will be able to live in a sustainable community.”
Several significant initiatives have come about through this collaboration, such as engineering and landscape design capstone projects, as well as individual contributions from undergraduate and graduate students. Together, these efforts provided research-backed proposals to promote coastline resiliency, an issue that has increasingly concerned Tybee residents in the wake of violent hurricanes and rising sea levels.
“Until you’re impacted significantly like Tybee Island, you might not understand the importance of coastline resiliency,” said Clark Alexander, director of Skidaway. “Tybee’s proactive stance has made a difference in this fight, and we’re happy to partner with them to develop real-world solutions to their resiliency concerns.”