Coastal Issues and Shoreline Management in the Southeast

HunterMaclean attorneys Andrew H. Ernst, Lane A. Johnson, and Zachary B. Harris presented at this program by The Seminar Group in Savannah, Georgia, on March 7, 2019.The program offered a wide-ranging discussion of legal and practical issues encountered by coastal users, regulators, and special interest groups invested in the southeastern coast. Drew Ernst also served as co-chairman.

It is often said the southeastern coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida is a “working coast” where energy, fishing, and other commercial and recreational interests intersect with coastal protection and environmental efforts. The complex interrelationships of coastal use create challenges and opportunities for attorneys and others representing clients in coastal areas. Regulatory limitations of coastal area use are crucial to many but problematic for others. Questions of rising sea levels, hurricanes, and resiliency planning also come into play, and the competing interests and needs of those living and working in the coastal area can – and do – lead to conflicts. This seminar offered legal and environmental perspectives to help attorneys and others provide the best advice to their clients.

The program included an on-site visit to Tybee island, where attendees observed active geologic processes and the human coastal engineering response to these processes. Faculty included experts responsible for implementing coastal programs, governmental staff, and prominent attorneys engaged in coastal law and related matters. Historical perspectives and recent developments in coastal law were covered, along with specific issues confronting residents regarding the coastal area, including the impact of salt water intrusion and limitation on groundwater aquifer use.