Senate passes Tybee Island Storm Risk Management Act

Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT
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Tybee Island, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Island is one step closer to securing federal help in maintaining it’s shoreline.

The U.S. Senate recently passed the Tybee Island Storm Risk Management Act.

It’s a bill that would secure federal funding to help the beach community curb the effects of climate change and storm surge.

The bill would continue a federal partnership to help the island combat climate change and storm surge.

The original partnership was slated to end in 2024.

“This is a very nonpartisan bill because it’s literally protecting our shoreline, it’s protectiong the coast, it’s protecting lives, it’s protecting marine life,” said Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions.

Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock cosponsored the bill.

According to Ossoff, Tybee Island has experienced 10 inches of sea level rise since 1935.

Under the bill, Tybee officials would work with the Army Corps of Engineers to nourish areas affected by erosion and bolster existing sand dunes to combat storm surge.

“The dunes and the sand is really the first line of defense against storm surges, against bad waves, any type of tropical storms, or nor’easters that we experience during the year so we are really pleased,” said Sessions.

And beachgoers who have lived through the devastation of hurricanes said they are optimistic about the possible extended partnership with the federal government.

“A few years back, I think it was about 4 or 5 years back, we had a hurricane come through and our house actually got about 2 inches of water in it. And so we’re hoping that the dunes and the extra sand will help protect the houses when the hurricanes come through,” said Tybee Island homeowner Emily Stillwell.

Mayor Sessions says the bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives where she is hopeful it will pass.

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