Ecological Management and Research at Little St. Simons Island
Little St. Simons Island stands out from other Georgia barrier islands in its relatively undisturbed character. The island has not experienced the farming, timber industry and building that most others have. There are very few places in the Southeast, and the entire east coast, where such an opportunity exists to encourage, with light-handed management, a matrix of natural communities typical of coastal barrier islands.
In 2007, Little St. Simons Island hired a full time ecological manager and established an Ecological Advisory Council to guide the implementation of an ecological and conservation management and research program. To date, a long-term ecological management plan has been developed and conservation practices have been implemented to protect the island’s plant communities and wildlife species. Additional projects include the construction of a living shoreline and on-island research of threatened wildlife species including rare bats, shorebirds and sea turtles.
The island’s applied research program provides an opportunity for LSSI to collaborate with conservation partners and educational institutions to contribute to a better understanding of the islands’ ecological processes, natural communities and rare species. Data gathered through research conducted on LSSI is aiding in developing further management guidelines and practices on the island and in the region. The island serves at times as an important reference site for research projects, as its matrix of intact natural communities are nearly unparalleled along the Southeastern coast. Visit our Ecological Projects page to learn more about some of the specific ecological management and research projects
Through the ecological management and research program, LSSI has worked to build and strengthen its conservation partnerships with The Nature Conservancy, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and other organizations working on the Georgia coast. With these collaborations, we plan to maintain and restore, as needed, the health of the island’s ecosystems and to establish the island as a model for thoughtful conservation management and education. To learn more about our conservation partners, visit our Ecological Resources page.