Rule Making for Private Recreational Docks

The following are official comments submitted to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources by the Georgia Conservancy regarding the Notice of Rule Making for Private Recreational Docks:

The Georgia Conservancy would like to express its support of the proposed rules for private recreational docks. We support the rules’ passage by your board because the rules will help to codify practices that are part of the current U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Programmatic General Permit (PGP) 00083, which has been in place since 2012.

The proposed rules provide the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division (CRD) with better accountability for design professionals, dock builders and upland property owners. These rules also provide applicants with guidance and procedural predictability, as well as reinforce judicial precedent for dock construction and maintenance. While implementation will still require careful consideration on a case-by-case basis, these rules are a good and necessary improvement.

The Georgia Conservancy is a statewide conservation organization that works to develop solutions to protect and conserve Georgia’s natural resources through advocacy, engagement and collaboration on water, air, land, marine and sustainable management issues. Founded in 1967, we are one of Georgia’s oldest conservation-based nonprofits and we have a history of advocating for coastal issues. Through our Coastal Policy, we state that The State of Georgia has a unique stewardship role with respect to coastal marshlands, water bottoms and estuarine systems that is critical to preserving the integrity of the salt marsh ecosystem and the public’s safe access and enjoyment of our common coastal treasures. We share a common goal with your organization of working to conserve Georgia’s coastal resources for present and future generations.

The State of Georgia owns the marshes, creeks and rivers for the benefit of all Georgians, and those who seek permission to build docks that cross these areas should be held to a high standard. The Georgia Conservancy believes that the permitting process by the Coastal Resources Division for all dock license permits should reflect the significant ecological impacts docks have on marsh and estuary function. It is hoped that these regulations will provide for fewer future issues which result in over-length docks of poor construction that block our creeks and do not allow the passage of boats or wrack.

These regulations are a step in the right direction. During the next few years, it will be very important to make sure that there is judicious, ecologically-sensitive implementation that reflects the intent of these rules.  

An intact marsh estuary is vital for the unique coastal ecosystem that provides economic and recreational benefits that are so vital to Georgia’s coast.

For any questions regarding our official comments, please contact Georgia Conservancy Coastal Director Charles McMillan at