Georgia Impact

St. Marys town hall meeting will discuss development of flood resiliency plan

St. Marys site visit-h
Jason Evans from UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and Jessica Whitehead from North Carolina Sea Grant survey flooding vulnerabilities in St. Marys during a site visit in November.

Athens, Ga. – A Sea Grant Town Hall meeting will be held March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Marys Little Theatre (Theatre by the Trax), 1000 Osborne Road for St. Marys residents and municipal leaders to learn about the development of a flood resiliency plan and share feedback on issues related to flooding, sea level rise and storm surge.

The public meeting will include summaries of the plan by researchers from Georgia Sea Grant, the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Marine Extension and three UGA public service and outreach units. Experts from North Carolina Sea Grant will provide information on the process that the project will follow. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, provide input on the plan’s development and make comments.

Researchers and extension specialists intend to tailor a plan with recommendations linked to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System program, focusing on the implementation of effective adaptation actions that may provide local residents flood insurance rate reductions.

Speakers at the meeting will include Chuck Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant; Kelly Spratt, local outreach coordinator for Georgia Sea Grant and UGA Marine Extension; and Jessica Whitehead, coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist from North Carolina Sea Grant.

After the meeting, select St. Marys government staff, elected officials and key stakeholders will participate in two days of in-depth discussions to explore how vulnerable and prepared St. Marys is in responding to hazardous flood events. A follow-up public meeting planned for this fall will focus on presenting a cost-benefit analysis of possible adaptation actions.

In 2013, St. Marys was selected through a nationwide grant competition as one of five U.S. locations to undergo community resilience and adaptation planning. Funded through a grant by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant Program, the findings will be shared with other coastal communities in Georgia, North Carolina and nationwide through the National Sea Grant network. Additional project partners include the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art and the UGA College of Environment and Design.

Georgia Sea Grant is one of 33 state programs within the National Sea Grant network. It provides research, education and outreach directed at coastal Georgia’s most pressing issues in order to assist local governments, promote sustainable development, support coastal industries, protect public health and train the next generation of scientists. For more information on the St. Marys Flood Resiliency Plan, see