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Monday, March 29, 2010 - 1:07pm

Jekyll Conservation Planning Revived

A long-delayed process to plan for conserving Jekyll Island's natural resources is getting back on track.

The conservation management plan directs how habitat is protected for threatened species include sea turtles.

The massive document directs how natural areas are managed.

And for years, it was stalled in a legal review while a redevelopment plan moved forward.

Now the Jekyll Island Authority has selected Florida-based AECOM consultants to help finish the plan.

"I really consider the conservation of the island part of the revitalization, so that's why I'm not only excited about the company but also the committee that we've generated," says Terry Norton, director of the Jekyll Island-based Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the heads the island's conservation committee.

Norton says, what's at stake in the conservation plan goes to the heart of why the island is protected.

"Managing the habitats, managing the wildlife, monitoring the wildlife," Norton says. "Jekyll Island is really one of the few places people can actually come... and see what a barrier island should look like."

By law, 65% of the island must remain natural.

The public will have input in the conservation plan while it's being drafted this year.

Officials expect a final conservation plan by January.

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