TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — For decades, Tybee Island has been building up its defenses against hurricanes and storm surges. But those efforts are in danger of coming to an end.
Federal funding for beach renourishment projects may expire in the next two years.
“This is major federal legislation which will authorize the U.S. army corps of engineers to continue their work to protect Tybee Island from coastal flooding, from storm surge, from coastal erosion and from rising sea level,” Sen. Jon Ossoff said at a press conference Friday.
This act would enable Tybee Island to continue to replenish and renourish its beach and dunes. The extended 50-year authorization is an investment in Tybee’s future.
“There are going to be tropical storms, there are going to be damaging tropical storms,” Ossoff said. “And this legislation will not provide 100% protection for this island. But it will empower the army corps to do vital work that will mitigate the damage.”
Ossoff says the funding for the project is dependent on the frequency of tropical storms and flooding events that erode the renourishment and dunes. Although it’s not set in stone, Tybee Mayor Shirley Sessions said it means a lot that the government is doing what it can to protect coastal areas.
“So for the Senator to focus on Tybee to find us and say you know what I want to make a difference, it means more than I can say,” Sessions said.
And the renourishment funding isn’t just for homeowners but for the island’s number one draw: tourism.
“We could have 30 to 50 thousand people on Tybee on any given day,” Sessions said. “And when that beach is not renourished it does not protect our businesses, our property owners our lives.”
Watch the full press conference below.