TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia and South Carolina coasts have taken a beating from tropical systems over the past few hurricane seasons.
Tropical Storms Bonnie, Colin, Hermine and Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Michael all contributed to significant beach erosion along the coast. Hurricanes Matthew and Irma’s storm surge and wave run-up contributed the most to vital sand and dune loss at the beach.
One community hit hard by the loss of precious soil is Tybee Island.
The barrier island stands as the mainland’s first line of defense against rough seas and rising water levels. Since the island’s natural formation, it has contributed to the protection of vital land further inland; Fort Pulaski, Savannah, Hutchinson Island, etc. The most striking example of dune loss is illustrated by the photos, below.
Slide the cursor to see what the beach landscape looked like at its most-depleted (left) compared to the post-restoration height (right). Photos, courtesy of the City of Tybee Island.
View, looking at the Pier on Tybee’s south end:
View, looking at the dune from the beach near 17th Street:
View, looking southward near Tybrisa Street:
View, looking at the dune from near 18th Street:
A healthy dune system protects land from storm surge and rough seas, as well as provides habitat for native plant and animal species.
Going forward, it is important that our dune system remains intact and protected as we prepare and plan for the next impact from a tropical system.