The Coastal Georgia Land Conservation Initiative is a collaborative between the DNR, Georgia Conservancy and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, created to preserve critical coastal lands and promote sustainable growth and development.
Coastal Mapping Project Overview
Since work began in 2007, natural resources biologists have created maps of the ecological communities for Georgia's 11 coastal counties using the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC), which is maintained by NatureServe.
NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs are the leading source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems.
An ecological community is a group of interacting plant and animal species that live in the same place. The communities are bound by the influences the species have on each other.
The ecological communities of the coast represent a diverse set of natural resources and provide habitats for many rare plant and animal species, while also supporting basic ecological functions on which people rely. For example, the barrier islands and associated inter-tidal salt marshes reduce the impact of storm surges, which can damage homes and roads.
Significant findings of the project include the discovery of seven previously undescribed natural communities and the discovery of bottomland post oak (Quercus similis), a species not previously recorded in Georgia. More than half of the associations from the habitat assessment fall in the G3-G1 categories, ranging from globally vulnerable to extinction to critically imperiled.
Mapping Project Objective
This project will give local governments, conservation organizations and city planners a baseline map of the critical and imperiled communities and important resources within each county. With this in hand, coupled with technical assistance from the other organizations involved in this project, coastal counties can plan for future development more sustainably by keeping natural resources in mind and ensuring their existence.