Campus News Georgia Impact

Georgia Sea Grant, UGA planning team wins award

A Georgia Sea Grant and UGA planning team that guided the creation of the Tybee Island Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan has been given the National Sea Grant’s highest extension honor, the Superior Outreach Programming Award.

The award recognizes superior leadership, teamwork and accomplishment by Sea Grant extension personnel engaged in an exceptional outreach program. It was presented to Georgia Sea Grant and its partners UGA Marine Extension, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the College of Environment and Design and the Lamar Dodd School of Art at a reception Sept. 11 during the annual Sea Grant Week national conference in Clearwater, Florida.

“Throughout the development of the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan, stakeholders have been engaged through town hall meetings, Web postings and presentations at city council meetings, and the response has been both enthusiastic and encouraging,” said Jason Buelterman, the mayor of Tybee Island. “As residents of a barrier island on the front lines of sea level rise, we have all become more attuned to the reality of what is happening and the need to act quickly to protect our community for future generations.”

The Tybee Island project was funded by NOAA’s National Sea Grant Program’s Coastal Communities Climate Adaptation Initiative grant, which helps enhance planning for climate adaptation in coastal communities.

Although the project is ongoing, the work with Tybee Island already is serving as a model for other coastal communities throughout the South including St. Marys, Georgia; Hyde County, North Carolina; Monroe County, Florida; and the city of Islamorada, Florida.

More than 3,000 people have been reached through this project, including Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, who visited Tybee during his Southeast Climate Road Trip and applauded Tybee Island’s efforts on the Senate floor.