Good Morning Mr. Garvey and Mrs. Reinhardt,
My name is James R. Holland and I am a life long resident of Georgia and I was the former Altamaha Riverkeeper® for ten years as well as 9 years as a former U.S. Marine. As the Altamaha Riverkeeper my job was to track polluters not only in areas such as waste water but to prevent pollution to our estuaries and salt marshes. Not only did I track and monitor pollution of our salt marshes when I observed what I considered a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and/or a violation of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) I would file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory body such as the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) or/and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) or/and the Coastal Resources Division (CRD), Habitat Management Program (HMP).
Using the experience I gained in those years of marsh protection are what brings me to writing the both of you about the site listed above. The above site started out named Tract IX Cloister Residences East on Sea Island, Georgia owned by Sea Island Acquisition (SIA).
As part of this complaint I would like to explain that several years ago I was involved in a legal case on Sea Island where according to the USACOE uses a different method of tidal waters such as, if it can be predicted that a high tide will reach a certain distance towards the uplands the USACOE considers that height or distance the particular tide reaches as its jurisdiction of being waters of the United States and is to be protected under the CWA Section 404 Guidelines to protect waters of the U.S. having said that, such is the case with the above site known better for the purposes of this letter as Lot #8, one of the proposed lots on the above proposed 8 lot sub division. The following sixteen (18) items will explain my reasoning in requesting the assistance of the USACOE at this lot #8 site.
#1A- Page 1 of O.C.G.A. 391-3-7.05 of the Buffer Variance Procedures and Criteria.
#1B- Page 2 of O.C.G.A. 391-3-7.05 (2)(h) For non-trout waters, the proposed land disturbing activity within the buffer will require a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendment of 1972, 33 U.S.C. Section 1344, and the Corps of Engineers has approved a mitigation plan to be implemented as a condition of such a permit;
Question- Has the SIA been issued a buffer variance permit as required by 33 U.S.C. Section 1344 requires?
#2- Letter to Mr. Robert Shupe telling him that his survey in plat of the above site has been logged in as of 3-18-15.
#3- Is a copy of the 3-18-15 survey in plat with graphics pointing out lot #8 and areas of USACOE jurisdiction on lot #8. My photos in later items will show that the areas listed as USACOE jurisdiction (marsh buffer plus) have been impacted by heavy equipment construction on this site.
#4- A clean copy of the Shupe Survey in plat as of 3-18-15.
#5- This is a combination photo of lot #8 on 12-4-13 surrounded by tide water along with a tide chart showing the high tide for that day. The high tide prediction for that day was approximately 8.1 feet. This photo and tide chart will come in to play again in later items.
#6- Is another photo of parts (East and North Side) of lot #8 with tide water on them. Same as Item #5, will come up in later items.
#7- A combination photo dated 9-29-15 showing lot #8 with high tide (Predicted 9.2 feet) water on all sides as well as in the center of lot #8. Same as item #6, will come up again in later space for this complaint.
#8- Another photo of lot #8 dated 9-29-15 showing lot #8 surrounded and engulfed with tide water. Same as item #7, will show up again in this complaint.
#9- Another photo of lot #8 dated 9-29-15 showing the site inundated in tide water. Same as Item #8, will show up again in this complaint.
#10- Another photo of lot #8 dated 10-28-15 showing tide water on and around the lot including the adjoining lot on the south side of lot #8. This will also show up later in this complaint.
#10A- Another photo of lot #8 and other parts of the proposed developed under tide waters. This will also show up later in this complaint.
#11- Another photo of lot #8 dated 12-26-15 under construction along with the adjoining lot to the south. Lot #8 has a new bulkhead to prevent tide water from encroaching on the lot with construction of the bulkhead on the adjoining lot. The buffer has been destroyed on all of lot #8 along with the adjoining lot buffer. During construction there has been a lot of salt marsh destroyed, especially on lot #8. This will also show up later in this complaint.
#12- This is a combination image of a 2003 google image of lot #8 and lot #8 as seen on 12-26-15.
#13- This is a copy of the tide chart showing the high tide in the McKay River on 12-4-13.
#14- This is a copy of the tide chart for 12-29-15 for this area.
#15- This is a copy of the tide chart used on 12-28-15 for this area.
#16- This is a copy of the 2003 google image showing the proposed lot #8.
In summarizing this complaint I believe that I have shown with image #1B that the SIA is required to have a marsh buffer variance (Waters of the U.S) from the USACOE. Has the Corps issued this developer a variance to destroy the buffer as shown in Item #11 for working in the buffer of waters of the U.S. & State of Georgia?
Beginning with Items number 5 and 6 showing where an 8.1 feet high tide shows up around lot #8 is the grounds to assume that it is reasonable to either assume or predict a high tide as shown in items number 7, 8 and 9 with a high tide of 9.2 feet would encroach upon lot #8 far beyond what is seen in items #5 and #6. The items in number 7, 8, 9 and 10 show a predicted tide of at least 12 inches greater than the 8.1 feet tide in items 5 and 6.
Items number 10 and 10A show tides at 9.3 feet predicted on that day and once again it is reasonable to assume or predict that a high tide of 9.3 feet would encroach upon lot #8 much more than the high tide of 8.1 feet in items number 5 and 6 on 12-4-13 date. It is reasonable to predict that when you add another twelve inches onto the 8.1 inch tide of 12-4-13 that the tide would certainly encroach on lot #8 and other parts of this development.
Beyond the buffer variance issue, has the USACOE issued this developer (SIA) a permit to work inside the waters of the United States inside lot #8 and around the surrounding other lots that are being cleared and bulkheaded to prevent the tide from encroaching upon this development?
I believe with the above writing I have shown adequate reason for the USACOE to investigate this site to determine if federal permits are required to do what my above photos show occurring. It is requested that if your investigation reveals that this site should be permitted under the CWA and it is not, please issue a stop work order on this site until the developer comes into full compliance with all federal laws.
I would like to thank you in advance for your assistance in this extremely important matter.
James R. Holland
I am requesting a written response to my concerns above.