Dune and Beach Restoration Project

This project aims to maintain and improve the resiliency of Tybee Island's beaches through regular beach renourishments.

Project Lead: Alan Robertson, AWR Strategic Consulting, awrstrategic@gmail.com 

Partners:  A.D. Williams Construction, EarthBalance, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Guardian Retention Systems, USACE

Funding: $160,000 from City of Tybee Island for Phase 1 dune restoration; $13 million from US Army Corps of Engineers for beach renourishment; $5 million from Georgia Department of Community Affairs for beach renourishment, Phase 2 dune restoration and coastal resilience planning.

Project Summary: 

The US Army Corps of Engineers has periodically nourished Tybee’s beach for the past 45 years. This authorized 3.5-mile long project was initially constructed in 1974 with a 50-year project life and periodic renourishments to occur every 7 years. The Corps had been working since 2018 on planning for the last full beach nourishment of Tybee Island under the current Federal Authorization which is due to expire in September 2024. The latest and last beach nourishment under the existing Authorization was completed in January 2020.

Prior to the USACE beach renourishment, 20,000 cubic yards of sand was obtained from an upland source and trucked in to construct the Phase 1 dunes. Phase 1 consisted of the construction of the 19th Street dune, funded entirely by the City, which began in April 2018 and was completed in one month. 

After this initial dune restoration, The Corps began their scheduled beach renourishment in 2019. Immediately following the completion of the beach nourishment, the City’s contractor, Guardian Retention Systems, began restoring the Phase 2 dunes. There were three sites of restored dunes at the south, mid and north sections of Tybee Island’s ocean-facing shoreline. 

In July 2019, the City was awarded a $5 million grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ OneGeorgia Authority to fund beach renourishment. This funding has been critical to the execution of Tybee’s coastal resilience plan. Since the City had made an assessment and developed its action plan, it was “shovel ready” and began implementing its plan immediately. The grant has since been extended to April 2023.


The goals of the USACE-funded beach renourishment, 19th Street dune construction, and restoration of South, Mid- and North Island dunes were to: 

  • fortify and restore identified areas of the island where access points to the beach created flooding during Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Maria 
  • replenish the volume of sand lost since the last beach nourishment due to storm events
  • increase the storm protection function of the beaches, especially where the dune system was weak or non-existent
  • maintain or improve the resiliency of the beaches
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