Mon., April 1, 2013 3:16pm (EDT)

Landowner To Restore Damaged Wetlands
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Georgia's coastal marshes are protected by federal and state law.  (photo Kilkenny Plantation)
Georgia's coastal marshes are protected by federal and state law. (photo Kilkenny Plantation)
A landowner in coastal Glynn County has agreed to restore 700 acres of wetlands damaged in a construction project.

A road builder illegally built 2.5 miles of roads, killing several square miles of trees.

Brunswick-area resident Wayne Hutcheson built the roads for better access to his property.

But he didn't get state or federal approval to do it.

The roads interrupted the natural flow of freshwater and made wetlands near the small community of Sterling salty.

Attorney Bill Sapp of the Southern Environmental Law Center says Hutcheson has agreed to breach the roads and plug some of his ditches.

"Mr. Hutcheson worked hard to make this settlement come about, too, and was very easy to work with," Sapp says. "During this process, we worked very closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coastal Resources Division to make this all happen. So it was a good example of teamwork on the coast."

He's also agreed to re-plant 5,000 to 6,000 trees, including cypress.

Environmental groups say illegal construction projects are becoming more common on Georgia's coast as the housing market picks back up.