Get some sage advice from one of Savannah’s leaders in women’s health.Dr. Carmela Pettigrew
Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Savannah OB/GYN SpecialistsClick>>
I love the website EWG.org. The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit with great information about food and products we use that may be potentially harmful. I always refer to their “Dirty Dozen” list when I grocery shop to avoid pesticides.Care>>
I am a daily user of sunscreen, because UV rays damage DNA and can lead skin cancer. Also, I frequently advise my patients to soak their razors in alcohol in between uses to kill bacteria, which reduces hair bumps and minor skin infections that can occur after shaving.Crave>>
I don’t have a sweet tooth but I am very fond of salted caramel and I can eat an endless amount of the salted carmel macarons from Maison de Macarons. I try not to buy more than a few at a time because I will eat them all at once. I ate 12 one time!
Find out what makes this top-notch neurologist tick.Dr. James G Lindley Jr.
Neurosurgeon, Neurological Institute of Savannah and Center for SpineClick>>
I use Essential Skeleton mobile app on my iPhone every day with patients and their families. It allows me to rotate, stretch and highlight the area of medical concern in a real and interactive way that is personal to each patient. I’d like to think that it’s fun and educational.Care>>
I was born in Key West, Fla. As a native “conch,” I live for the sun and heat of summer! Busy schedules can be quite a challenge, but I believe in the ongoing pursuit of a balanced life and try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends on the beautiful waters of Savannah. I apply SPF 70 liberally—“doctors’ orders.”Crave>>
Byrd Cookie Company’s jalapeño cheese biscuits are my favorite—perfect with a cold Corona on my dock in the evening. I also am addicted to the chocolate chip!
Rents are climbing downtown as funky Broughton Street becomes “B Street,” a reimagined magnet for upscale national retailers. Hotelier and Savannah native Richard Kessler has begun a $100 million-plus redevelopment of River Street’s west end. Homewood Suites by Hilton stands to open on the east end in early 2015. There’s talk of Trade Center expansion—even the rumor of a Hutchinson Island casino. But what does all this development mean for the Savannah lifestyle? What do we stand to gain—and lose? We’ve invited Savannahians with differing views to tell us in their open letters.
In our final chapter of the online Open Letter: Development discussion, we hear from artist Betsy Cain, who has fought an ongoing battle for the last seven years to save the precious and fragile marsh on which she lives.
This aerial image taken in May 2014—highlights our extensive documentation of the ongoing impacts to our tidal basin on Wilmington Island’s Tom Creek from a state permitted 980-foot dock that was “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit (PGP0083) in 2006 and completed in 2007. You can see more images HERE >>
The dock acts as an artificial barricade to the seasonal, natural migration on high tides of dead marsh grass, Spartina Alterniflora, which sloughs off each spring as the new grass shoots start their yearly cycle. This dead marsh grass is an essential nutritive component to the ecosystem of Georgia’s vast salt marshes and is a biofuel for the many organisms that make up this diverse and productive habitat.
The dock collects this wrack in such quantity and density (up to over two-feet high in some years, and every year is different), that the natural ebb and flow of tidal action in the smaller, shallower creeks is unable to dislodge it. The wrack can stay “in residence” on top of the marsh for up to six months with some fluctuations. When this happens, the healthy marsh grass underneath is denied light and oxygen and the marsh grass dies.
Depending on the length of time the wrack stays on top of the marsh, the rhizomes or roots of the Spartina can be killed, effectively denuding the area of the one sustaining life force that is so integral to the marsh’s survival. Once the rhizomes are killed, the destabilized mud softens and is scoured by the tides. The creek beds then collapse and silt-in. The structural support is gone. The life force is gone. Our tidal navigation has been impaired and our flood protection from the marsh has been compromised.
My husband, David Kaminsky, and I have created a response to this local eco-crisis by recruiting the help of a community of volunteers, dedicated friends and neighbors, whom we called “wrack wranglers.”
Starting after high tide, each person enters the creeks with rakes, kayaks, boats and invented wrack tools to pull the wrack off the covered marsh back into the creeks. We then escort it out by hand, pushing and swimming it out past the entire length of the dock to a larger tributary on the outgoing tide and send it on its way to be naturally dispersed to the ocean and beaches where it can help build dunes as well as supply its vital nutrients to the whole ecosystem. This is muddy, exhausting work, yet exhilarating and rewarding to think we can stave off the inevitable if only for a little while.
A recent exhibition “Wrack and Ruin and the Creative Response” held earlier this year at the University Of Georgia’s Circle Gallery, College Of Environment and Design, showcases our ongoing documentation of the changes taking place in the marsh, our “wranglers” and our art.
Because of our own experience, we are advocating that Georgia’s recreational coastal docks, now exempt, be brought under the Coastal Marshland Protections Act not only to protect a critical natural resource that serves as the cradle to the ocean, but also to protect coastal homeowners as docks become more prolific. We, unfortunately, are the poster children for what can go wrong.
We are not anti-dock. Our particular points are that long docks should not be “fast-tracked” under the Programmatic General Permit and that more than the immediately adjacent property owners should be notified when a long dock is under permit consideration. We would like to see the criteria for evaluating the permits for these long docks to include not only potential impacts such as wrack accumulation, but also view-shed, need and the environmental costs to the marsh while they are being built.
All of these considerations lead to the question: why, when property owners build a dock to gain access through the marsh, which is held in the public trust, do they bear no responsibility whatsoever for any damage to the marsh caused directly by the result of their actions? How long is too long?
Read Tom Kohler’s Open Letter HERE » Read Ben Carter’s Open Letter HERE » Read Karen Geriner Robertson’s Open Letter HERE »