– August 3, 2022 –

Record nesting for loggerheads

Loggerhead sea turtles are having a banner nesting season.

“Oh, and by the way, we barely crawled past our 2019 loggerhead record of 3,950 nests on Sunday.” Georgia Sea Turtle Coordinator Mark Dodd wrote on Facebook. “It doesn’t look like we are going to blow past the record as we have in previous big years, but it’s great news. Our loggerhead population model predicts the population will plateau at current levels for 20 years before it starts to increase toward historic levels. We still have a long way to go to reach our recovery goals, but we are headed in the right direction.” The total was up to 3,963 by Tuesday. Keep track of the nests island-by-island at www.seaturtle.org. Cumberland has racked up more than 1,200.

While wild turtles are posting records, a captive loggerhead on Tybee, Ike, was feted Friday with a “graduation” to a new, bigger tank at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Ike will be released next year, but in the meantime gives visitors a reason to care about all sea turtles, said Acting Director Chantal Audran.

Ike checks out the visitors checking him out in his new tank at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Credit: Mary Landers/The Current

Peachy climate solutions

Georgians focused on the climate crisis are excited about the possibilities for the Peach State if the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passes, Molly Samuel of WABE reports.

“It’s like they wrote this for Georgia,” said Marilyn Brown, a public policy professor at Georgia Tech.

That’s because the bill that West Virginia holdout Sen. Joe Manchin finally agreed to includes incentives for climate solutions that will work well here, including electric vehicles, solar panels and heat pumps. It’s lining up to be a boon for both Georgia manufacturers and residents.

Rackley Davis of Live Oak Energy Systems discusses solar energy on the roof of a Savannah business where he’s installing a 6.8 kilowatt system. Credit: Mary Landers/The Current

BEACH ADVISORIES: As of this writing, no temporary advisories are posted for bacteria-related beach water in Georgia. Permanent advisories are in place for Clam Creek Beach and St. Andrews Beach on Jekyll Island as well as King’s Ferry County Park on the Ogeechee River at the Chatham/Bryan County line. Before you head to the beach, check the link to see current notices.
Jellyfish season is in full swing on Tybee Island, where lifeguards post purple flags as a warning when they’re present. Check the Tybee Lifeguards Facebook page for advance warning about jellyfish conditions. The lifeguards advise:

“The sting will usually go away on its own within 30 minutes to an hour. Welts, redness, and moderate skin irritation are to be expected. If you get stung, exfoliate the area with wet sand, rinse off, and see a lifeguard for vinegar spray!”

A comb jelly at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center

Where are the EVs?

It’s not too late to be an early adopter of an electric vehicle in Georgia, especially along the coast. If you live in McIntosh County you can still be among the first two dozen owners to register one. We know because The Current’s data intern Nick Sullivan mapped out registration data from the Georgia Department of Revenue for a recent article about the high demand and low supply of EVs in the state. It’s the only place to find this information so conveniently formatted. Click on a county and learn how many EVs are registered there and what percentage they make up of all vehicles. Which coastal county has the most EVs? Check the map to find out.

2022 Kia EV6

What’ll it cost me?

Real estate sites have begun including risk information along with the usual 4BR/2B descriptions of homes. The trouble is, while buyers can easily picture the bedrooms and baths, they don’t intuitively know what a numerical risk rating means, say researchers writing in The Conversation. That could be why coastal homes that are prone to flooding keep selling at ever higher prices.

One solution: translate the risk to dollars. The researchers developed a tool that offers information on the annual costs expected from each hazard, such as flooding or wind damage, and how the home’s census block compares with the local area, county and state. 

“In our view, the continuing influx of residents into high-risk areas, along with skyrocketing disaster losses, presents an urgent need to give prospective renters and buyers better information about the risks properties face,” they write.

The Back River floods Riverside Drive in Brunswick following Hurricane Irma. (Bobby Haven)

Spaceport news

Spaceport Camden was featured prominently in a Washington Post piece about the proliferation of spaceports around the country. Attorneys for Camden told the Post that the county is suing Union Carbide Corp. to force the company to sell it the land for its spaceport. (The Brunswick News also reported the news of the lawsuit last week.) Union Carbide last month announced the land deal was off, pointing to a March 8 referendum in which voters overwhelmingly rejected the purchase of the land.

The county claims the referendum is invalid and taken the matter to the Georgia Supreme Court. The court on Tuesday issued an order moving the date and location of the hearing from Aug. 23 in Atlanta to Oct. 6 in Augusta.

Camden County last week also released a report that concludes  there’s “no credible risk to Cumberland Island” from a fire related to a rocket launch, the Brunswick news reports. The county contracted with a California firm to produce the report, which was dated May 2022. Spaceport critic Steve Weinkle slammed the report as failing to properly consider the safety of the residents and visitors on Cumberland Island.

If you have feedback, questions, concerns, or just like what you see, let us know at thecurrentga@gmail.com.

Tybee’s sea turtle gets room to grow

A 2-year-old sea turtle graduated to a new tank, the biggest one ever at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center

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Army Corps postpones dredging until sea turtles finish nesting

A planned dredging operation that was likely to kill sea turtles is rescheduled to a turtle-friendlier season.

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Climate bill could benefit Georgia consumers, towns

It includes incentives for clean energy manufacturing like solar panels and batteries, both growing industries in Georgia. And there’s money for agriculture and forestry, which are already big here.

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EVs in short supply, high demand in Georgia

Some dealers are charging thousands above the sticker price for in-demand EVs.

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Flood, wildfire risks: Translating ratings into future costs can help us grasp odds – and act on them

Studies show that people rely on personal experience as the dominant driver when considering risk. Researchers work to develop effective tool to communicate danger, costs in absence of experience.

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Owner of Spaceport Camden land says deal’s off

Property owner Union Carbide says it no longer has a contract with Camden for Spaceport property

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Mary Landers is a reporter in Coastal Georgia focusing on the environment for The Current. It's a topic she covered for nearly 24 years at the Savannah Morning News, where she began and ended her time...