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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11:26am

Georgia Ports Authority Touts Wetlands Creation On Earth Day

Updated: 7 months ago.
GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz speaks in front of the wetlands on the grounds of GPA's Garden City Terminal. Photo Credit: Emily Jones

In honor of Earth Day, the Georgia Ports Authority is highlighting a new wetland area constructed for stormwater treatment. The 14 acres of man-made wetlands lie between the storage and dock facilities and a container transfer facility at GPA’s Garden City Terminal.

Captured stormwater that would normally run into the Savannah River instead follows a “meandering path” through a series of ponds to the river, according to Natalie Dawn, the Authority’s Environmental Sustainability Manager. Along the way, the marshy ecosystem filters out pollutants.

“It protects the Savannah River. That’s its primary purpose,” Dawn says of the wetlands area. “As beautiful as it is, it’s working very hard.”

GPA officials first conceived of the wetlands project four years ago, according to Executive Director Curtis Foltz. After about three years of planting and construction, he says it’s been an “effectively managed” wetland for about six months.

Foltz notes that the wetlands are part of broader efforts to make the Port of Savannah environmentally friendly. “As we grow our business, we’re committed to growing it in the right way,” he says.

Other efforts have included reducing diesel usage with electric cranes and more efficient refrigeration.

Environmental groups have raised concerns about the impact that the anticipated dredging of the Savannah Harbor will have on fish and other wildlife.