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  5. AST: Restoring the Satilla River: A Lesson in Grassroots Success

AST: Restoring the Satilla River: A Lesson in Grassroots Success

Sept 25th, 2021
In person
Atlanta Brewing Company, 2323 Defoor Hills Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Learn how Scientists, Community members, and Students worked together to convince the government to address a 90-year-old man-made ecological problem.

What happens when the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) turns a defunct log transportation channel into part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)? In 1932, Noyes Cut was dug through the saltmarshes of the Satilla River near Dover Bluff, GA, but it was not maintained after 1935.By 1938, the residents of the Dover Bluff Community first documented the decline in water quality presumably caused by Noyes Cut. It took almost 50 years for the USACE to respond and send an engineer to investigate. McMahon’s 1983 report confirmed the landowners’ observations and proposed that Noyes Cut be closed. However, Georgia never spent money allotted for the closure and Noyes Cut remains today.

Fast forward to a 2013 scientific society meeting where a local researcher gave a presentation on the Cut’s history and ultimately started a collaborative assessment of the ecological effects of Noyes Cut. Since June 2014, faculty at two universities, local interest group members, and a multitude of citizen scientists and student volunteers have collected biological data on the effects of Noyes Cut. This research has helped the USACE make sound decisions and move forward with the plans to close Noyes Cut.

Watch this uplifting talk from Amy Abdulovic-Cui, PhD; A. Loren Mathews, PhD; Jessica M. Reichmuth, PhD.

Amy received her PhD in Biochemistry Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University and have been working to understand DNA repair and DNA replication mechanisms for the last 15 years; she is currently the assistant chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Augusta University where she continues working in DNA replication and repair and population genetics studies.  

Loren received her PhD in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida; she is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University. Loren’s research focuses on water quality and aquatic ecology, particularly in estuarine and marine ecosystems. She is interested in how changes in freshwater input into marine ecosystems affects nutrient and light availability, which in turn influences the abundance, composition, and production of phytoplankton (think tiny plants) communities.  

Jessica received her PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University and is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Augusta University. Jessica has dabbled in all things marine invertebrate ecology for the past 15 years. Currently, Jessica is still playing around with marine inverts to answer complex questions involving who eats whom in addition to using invert behavior as an indicator of climate change. 

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