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Monday, December 31, 2012 - 12:00pm

Tybee Officials Seek Renourishment

Updated: 1 year ago.
The last beach renourishment cost $11 million. The federal government picks up 70% of the cost. Most of the beach erosion on Tybee stems from federal dredging in the Savannah River. (photo Orlando Montoya)

Tybee Island is pushing for another round of beach renourishment funding in the next legislative session.

The US Army Corps of Engineers pays for 70% of the cost of replenishing the sand at the summer tourism destination.

The federal government picks up the lion's share of the cost.

That's because studies find most of the beach erosion on Tybee stems from the Corps' dredging in the Savannah River shipping channel.

Dredging prevents natural accumulation of sand.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman says sand renourishment protects people and property.

"Folks up in New Jersey and elsewhere in the northeast learned during Hurricane Sandy that those communities that had beach renourishment projects going on for a number of years managed to withstand the effects of the storm a whole lot better than communities that did not have renourished beaches and healthy sand dunes," Buelterman says.

The last beach renourishment in 2008 cost state, federal and local governments a total of $11 million.

Buelterman says the beach needs more sand to keep both people and property safe -- and generating tax revenue.

"Most importantly it affects all of the folks who come out to Tybee to enjoy a day at the beach," Buelterman says. "$2.7 million a year is collected from state sales tax and income tax. So it also has an impact statewide."

Starting in January, local officials will go back to lawmakers to fund the state's share of the next round.

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