Ecological Resources

  • Skiff returning at sunset

Little St. Simons Island Ecological Advisory Council

In 2007, the island established an Ecological Advisory Council to guide the creation and implementation of an ecological management plan. The council is made up of biologists and conservationists with on the ground experience in coastal Georgia ecosystems. The council works closely with the ecological manager and other staff to recommend best management practices, putting the conservation of the island’s habitats and species first. The council also works to determine research and monitoring priorities and review research proposals and to connect LSSI with other researchers and experts in the field of conservation management.

Current Members:

Christi Lambert, Chair
Christi Lambert is the Marine and Freshwater Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. Working with the Conservancy since 1991, Lambert has led a wide range of programs and projects throughout Georgia and has built strong partner relationships that have resulted in significant conservation successes. Her first major project was to launch the Altamaha River Bioreserve as a national science and community-based landscape-scale watershed initiative. Over the past two decades, she has played an integral role in the protection of more than 125,000 acres of coastal and riverine lands through acquisitions and easements. She is also focused on restoration and management, invasive species abatement, ocean planning, outreach and community partnerships. Lambert has been a leader in the development and communication of practices that are compatible with conservation and community. Working with agencies, landowners, academia and communities, she is developing methodologies, constructing and monitoring living shoreline pilots along more than 1,000 linear feet and informing policy to increase the scale of habitat restoration and enhancement for the health of habitat and people.

Christi presently serves on the Little St. Simon’s Island Ecological Advisory Council (chair and founding member), Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Advisory Council (past chair), Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Advisory Council (chair), Cannon’s Point Advisory Board and Conservation Task Force, and Coastal Wildscapes Advisory Council. Christi has served on the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, Governor’s Coastal Comprehensive Development Planning Advisory Council, Governor’s Joint House and Senate Comprehensive Water Study Committee, Altamaha-Oconee and Ocmulgee Basin Advisory Council, Coastal River Basin Water Management Committee, Jekyll Island Conservation Planning Team, Coastal Forester’s Association (past chair) and the McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She was instrumental in the founding of partner organizations including Altamaha Riverkeeper, McIntosh Sustainable Environment and Economic Development Initiative, and the Altamaha River Cooperative (a collaborative of forest products companies, landowners and agencies).

A native Georgian, Christi studied biology and chemistry at Shorter College and Berry College and ecology and geography at the University of Georgia.

Brad Winn
Before joining the staff of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts in February, 2011, Brad Winn worked for the state of Georgia for 17 years as a Biologist and Program Manager for the coastal office of the Nongame Conservation Section of the Department of natural Resources.

As Program Manager he oversaw a wide range of research, monitoring and management projects focused on protecting, and recovering depleted populations of native wildlife and natural communities of Georgia. Some of the most significant projects included monitoring the integrity of the North Atlantic right whale calving grounds, managing the recovery of the local loggerhead turtle population, protecting and managing sandbar-island nesting sites for seabirds and shorebirds, monitoring the recovery of the American Wood Stork, overseeing Swallow-tailed Kite nesting studies, and mapping and classifying all of the natural communities of Georgia’s coastal counties.

With Manomet, Brad is taking all he learned while in Georgia, and is applying it to projects focused on shorebird conservation within the entire Atlantic Flyway. Shorebirds as a whole are in poor shape world-wide, but Brad and others at Manomet are pursuing opportunities to turn some negative population trends around with strategic efforts in habitat protection and management.

Dorset Hurley
Dorset has lived and worked in the marshes and waters of coastal Georgia for over 30 years. His career started on Cumberland Island working as a technician for Susan Bratton (NPS) and eventually as the team leader of the long-term loggerhead sea turtle tagging project. After returning to Athens he worked shortly under Eugene Odum and Jim Cooley of the University of Georgia (UGA) Institute of Ecology . He later transferred to the apiculture research unit (honey bee research) of the UGA Dept. of Entomology under Al Dietz and then to the Dept. of Zoology, working on assessments of growth rates in young-of-the-year drum fishes in the brackish marshes of the Ogeechee River Basin.

Dorset served for several years as an extension agent for the UGA Marine Extension Service, where he developed the requirements and techniques for establishing a hard clam aquaculture fishery in Georgia’s coastal waters. For the past 14 years he has served as both a senior marine biologist for the GA DNR, and Research Coordinator for the SINERR.
His professional interests include tidal restoration projects, sea level monitoring, developing and planning Living Shorelines: control and detection of marine and terrestrial invasive species, coastal conservation spatial planning and ecosystem assessment.

Dorset has authored or coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific and technical publications and serves on a number of advisory boards and committees in the coastal region.
Dorset’s personal interests include hunting, fishing and energy-efficient residential construction. He lives in the community of Cox with his wife Diane and has four children Hunter, Aoki, Nanae and Motoki.

Jacob Thompson
Jacob Thompson has worked as a coastal ecologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Nongame Conservation Section for the past seven years. During this time, Jacob has helped lead a coastal habitat mapping and assessment project resulting in detailed landcover maps and a greater knowledge of the natural communities of the Georgia coast. His current responsibilities include prioritizing vegetation monitoring activities for state lands, conducting surveys for high priority habitats and plant species, and coastal land protection.

Jacob holds a B.S. Degree in Biology from Valdosta State University and a M.S. Degree in Biology from Georgia Southern University. While in graduate school, Jacob began his career with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources working as an intern at state natural areas and helping conduct surveys for rare plants. After completing his Master’s, he was hired as a research technician in the Plant Ecology Lab at Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway, where he worked on a coastal plain depressional wetland biodiversity project.

Throughout his career, he has worked on and led several research and monitoring projects, including studies on pollinator behavior, herbivore and invasive plant impacts on rare plants, vegetation classification, herpetofauna monitoring, and plant population and community response to management. Besides serving on the LSSI Ecological Advisory Council, he is an active member of the Cannon’s Point Conservation Task Force and helped create a management plan for Cannon’s Point Preserve on St. Simons Island. Out of these different experiences, Jacob takes the most pride in working to protect ecologically valuable lands on the Georgia coast.

Jacob lives in Kingsland with his wife Amy, four year-old son Carter, and two year-old daughter Claire.

Research on Little St. Simons Island

Through the process of developing an Ecological Management Plan, we have worked with our Ecological Advisory Council to develop priority research questions. These priorities are questions that we hope will guide future management on Little St. Simons Island and in other parts of our region. In a few cases, LSSI takes the lead role in conducting the research, but with most research projects the island works closely with other organizations and research institutions taking the lead to develop projects that work to answer some of these questions. With its intact ecological communities, LSSI provides a unique platform for research.

If you are interested in research on LSSI, please contact our ecological manager, Scott Coleman, for more details on research priorities and the proposal schedule. scottc@littlestsimonsisland.com

Partnerships

We depend on our partnerships with other conservation organizations for numerous ecological management, research, and outreach projects. Our partners have been the leads or collaborated with us on efforts that we have participated in. They have provided technical expertise, financial resources, man hours, equipment and more. The coastal Georgia region is fortunate to have so many dedicated organizations and people working on shared conservation goals. Below is a list of organizations and entities that we have collaborated with.