On the Atlantic Coastline, especially in areas prone to powerful nor’easters and tropical storms — would you remove a sand dune just for a better view of the beach or ocean? Of course you wouldn’t. Even if you wanted to, wanted to badly, there are laws, “smart” laws, that would prevent it.
On the Atlantic Coastline, especially in areas subject to flooding nor’easters and tropical storms and in the eroding path of a rising ocean level, would you cut down shrubbery or anything else that blocks the wind and holds back the sea? Certainly not.
Well, someone might want to tell that to county government. Glynn County crews have been busily chopping down and yanking up shrubs and small trees that separate the marsh, which often floods during extreme high tides, from land. It’s destroying a natural barrier on U.S. 17.
And why is this being done? So motorists traveling at 50 mph, the posted speed limit, will have a “better view” of the marsh. Really? Aren’t motorists distracted enough these days without adding unnecessarily to the list of things not to do while driving?
Come on, even a fourth grade science class knows a little something about erosion and how to use nature to keep it in check. You do it with vegetation and trees. Roots anchor the soil. It’s why some states threaten fines of $500 or more for damaging sand-holding sea oats on dunes.
The natural wall the county has been diligently laying waste to on behalf of aesthetics is a pretty effective wind break. Ask communities that have survived hurricanes how important wind breaks are. Ask county workers who were probably hunched behind tall shrubs — shrubs that are no longer there — to shield themselves from the cold wind Wednesday.
Has anyone in Glynn County government checked to see how local government can help mitigate flooding and lower the flood rating and flood insurance premiums set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency? How wonderful it would be to knock the rating down a notch or two, like Camden County just recently did, by taking “smart” actions.
One could almost guarantee that removing natural vegetation that protects land from tides and the sea is not one of the mitigation procedures recommended by FEMA.
I’m reminded of the boy, jealous of his mother’s attention, who went around the garden and whacked off her flowers’ heads. But, this isn’t the only instance of public officials killing the golden goose.