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Requests for water access on rise
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n a slowed economy cannot stop people from being lured to the water in Coastal Georgia. Residents continue to fish and sail on waterways and along the Atlantic coast.
Therefore, requests for permits for community docks and marinas with public access are on the rise, say Department of Natural Resources staffers.
“So far in 2009, we have issued 22 Coastal Marshland Protection Act permits that range from fishing piers and oyster restoration projects to marinas and community fishing docks to bridges — anything that would trigger a permit under the Marshland Protection Act,” said Karl Burgess, habitat management program manager for the regional DNR office based in Brunswick. “The increase in population and interest in living on the coast has driven an increase in coastal development and docks. However, with the weakened economy, there have been fewer applications for privately owned docks. Requests for multi-use docks have been pretty stable.”
Burgess’s office handles all permitting requests regarding the Marshland and Shore Protection Acts. The coastal DNR region covers six counties: Liberty, Bryan, Chatham, Glynn, McIntosh and Camden.
“We’ve issued on average between 100-150 private recreational dock permits per year over the last few years,” Burgess said.  Private permits are good for three years, he said. Permits for public access docks are good for five years.
“People are getting their permits in line with the hope our economy will bounce back,” Burgess said.
According to the DNR Web site, a permit is required, “for any project which involves removing, filling, dredging, draining or otherwise altering any marshlands.
Burgess confirmed that local government entities are requesting permits to gain more water access for the public in their respective communities.
Liberty County bought land for a marina last year, but hasn’t begun construction.
Bryan County received a permit from the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee last week. The county can now proceed with its public/private marina project on Red Bird Creek in Richmond Hill.
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