City of St. Marys, Wheeler Street Boat Ramp and Waterfront Park, Kayak Dock Modification and Enhancements, St. Marys River, Camden County, Georgia


This serves as notification from the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources of a request from the City of St. Marys for a Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) permit under Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) 12-5-280 et seq., to modify and enhance the Wheeler Street Boat Ramp and Waterfront Park Kayak Dock located on the St. Marys River, Camden County, Georgia. The proposed project is under 1/10 of an acre, and therefore may be considered a minor alteration of coastal marshlands under O.C.G.A. 12-5-280 et. seq.

The applicant proposes to enhance the existing kayak dock and modify the existing Wheeler Street Boat Ramp at the City’s Waterfront Park. Both structures were damaged during Hurricane Irma and Matthew. The Kayak dock was repaired in its pre-storm footprint and is currently serviceable. However, the Wheeler Street Boat Ramp is unsafe for public use as a result of Hurricane damage and degradation over its lifetime. A Letter of Permission was issued on March 15, 2018 for demolition to the existing unserviceable boat ramp.   

The applicant proposes to reconstruct the boat ramp facility. The two 25ft. wide lanes of the boat ramp will be reconstructed at a more perpendicular angle to the river to facilitate launching vessels at a greater depth. Rip rap totaling approximately 5,528 square feet will be installed adjacent to the re-constructed ramps. The proposed new service dock will be located to the eastern side of the ramps.  The dock will facilitate recovery of vessels and consists of a 33ft. x 18ft. pile supported platform with an 80ft. x 4ft. gangway extending seaward to access a 10ft. x 80ft. main floating dock and an 8ft. x 22ft. ramp landing. A 10ft. x 30ft. float and a 10ft. x 38ft. float will extend downstream from the main float. The boat ramp project will permanently impact approximately 14,504 square feet of coastal marshlands, of which 2,914 square feet will be new impacts.

In addition, the applicant is proposing to reconstruct the existing kayak dock. The existing 124ft. x 6ft. walkway and 3.5ft. x 33ft. gangway will access a new proposed 17ft. x 32ft. floating dock with two (2) 10ft. x 33ft. floats extending channelward and two (2) 10ft. x 42ft. floats extending upstream. A 16ft. x 16ft. kayak launch system is proposed between the two channelward floats. The kayak dock project will impact approximately 3,160 square feet of coastal marshlands, 1,349 square feet of which will be new impacts.

As proposed the projects will impact approximately 17,664 square feet, of which 4,263 square feet (0.098 acres) will be new impacts to coastal marshlands.

The upland component will consist of the existing paved boat ramp access and parking area. This area totals approximately 100ft. x 130ft (13,000 square feet). There will be no proposed changes in use or condition of the upland component.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that the project is not contrary to the public interest and that no feasible alternative sites exist. Impacts to coastal marshlands must be minimal in size. In passing upon the application for permit, the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee shall consider the public interest: (1) Whether or not unreasonably harmful obstruction to or alteration of the natural flow of navigational water within the affected area will arise as a result of the proposal; (2) Whether or not unreasonably harmful or increased erosion, shoaling of channels, or stagnant areas of water will be created; and (3) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicants proposal will unreasonably interfere with the conservation of fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, or other marine life, wildlife, or other resources, including but not limited to water and oxygen supply.

Please provide this office with substantive, site-specific comments as to why the proposed work should or should not proceed.  Comments and questions concerning this proposed project should be submitted in writing and be submitted by the close of business on June 7, 2018 to Paul Tobler, Department of Natural Resources, One Conservation Way, Georgia 31520.

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