Hurricane Irma Recovery Updates

Immediate Release

Media Contact:

John Holman, City Manager



Hurricane Irma Update

St. Marys, GA – November 3, 2017- Here are updates for City residents, and we recommend that you check the County website in addition to the City’s website


Road Closure

  • St. Marys Street from Market on the Square, east to Ready Street and Ready Street, from St. Marys Street to Stable Alley is closed.
  • The need for this closure has been reviewed and it is anticipated that the closure will continue through November 8, 2017.  This closure is necessary in order to support the removal of debris and boats from the St. Marys waterfront. 


Boat Removal/Retrieval Info:  Boats located in the Marsh or along the waterfront

  • FEMA and the Coast Guard are developing a plan to remove the Trawler sunk next to Lang’s Warehouse.  They plan on having this boat removed within the next three weeks.
  • The city will be working with DNR and FEMA on plans for removal of the three remaining boats in the marsh.


Temporary Transfer Station: Boat Area

The City of St. Marys has a “Temporary Transfer Station” (Station) for recovered boats that were sunk or grounded during Hurricane Irma.  This facility is located on Douglas Drive next to the vegetative debris yard.  A fence has been erected around the facility to provide security for the boats. 


Individuals who are interested in gaining access to a boat at this facility must do so through an appointment process.  Appointments need to be made 24 hours in advance by calling the St. Marys Police Department at 912-882-4488.  Appointments are being granted to those who can prove ownership of a vessel through either a current boat registration receipt or with a title of ownership.  Upon arrival for the appointment, the officer at the lay-down yard will require a photographic ID, proof of ownership and proof of insurance.  These documents will be digitally photographed as part of the records keeping process.


Insurance company representatives may also gain access to vessels that they insure.  The same appointment process needs to be followed, and the insurance representative will be required to produce their employee credentials and proof of insurance for the vessel.


The City staff is working to develop a process for boat owners to remove their vessel in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources and FEMA.  A staff meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2017 to work with FEMA for boat owners/insurers to remove boats from the site.      


Maritime/Boating Notice

The Department of Natural Resources has inspected the Meeting Street Boat Ramp and has deemed it open for public use. All marine facilities along the St. Marys River, in the City of St. Marys, are closed for public use. Please continue to be mindful in St. Marys’ waterways for hazards such as floating and submerged debris.


Please follow this link on our webpage for all information related to the Hurricane Irma Emergency Order Information along with the Guidance Document from our Department.  DNR regulations can be found on the following websites:


Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division (GA DNR/CRD) recognizes the need for local communities and residents to begin the process of returning to life as we know it. In response, we have activated a call center that started on Monday, September 18, 2017 to gather information about impacts to beach front property, private docks, bank stabilizations, marinas, commercial docks, or other structures within coastal waters, marshlands, or along barrier island beaches. Staff will also be available to answer questions about permitting/regulatory processes and needs for areas impacted within the jurisdiction of the State’s Shore Protection Act (SPA) and/or Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA). The call center number is (912) 264-7218 and will operate between the hours of 8 AM and 4:30 PM until further notice.  


Public Maritime Facilities

The City is working on plans to restore its downtown public docking and boating facilities.  This will be a two phase process, with temporary improvements to allow some boating activity and a full restoration and betterment project to provide long term facilities. We will continue to update all citizens on the status of this work and anticipate starting with temporary repairs and stabilization of the Gilman Boat House Dock and berthing facilities. 


Gilman Dock:

  • The City has entered into a contract for the repairs of the Gilman dock.  This dock, when completed, will support transient boaters and provide a temporary docking facility for the Cumberland Island Ferry.  The work is underway with an estimated completion date of November 12, 2017.  Additional information will be provided on the City website. 
  • A ribbon cutting celebrating the reopening of the Gilman Dock and ferry service to Cumberland Island will be held on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 8:30 AM.  This celebration will be located at the Gateway Property on Ready Street. 


Waterfront Pavilion:

  • The City is advertising for quotes for repairs to the waterfront pavilion.  We anticipate that this work will commence the week of November 6 2017.  


Wheeler Street Boat Ramp:

  • The City’s maritime engineer is developing plans and specifications for repairs and improvements to the Wheeler Street Boat Ramp and Dock.  Once completed, these plans will be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources and Army Corps of Engineers for permitting approvals.   The estimated date for advertisement of sealed bids for this project is December 18, 2017.  The city is hopeful that construction will be completed by July of 2018. 


DNR Dock:

  • This dock is located at the eastern edge of the Howard Gilman Waterfront Park.  The DNR has advised the city that this dock is closed for public use due to damage from the hurricane.  The DNR has contracted for repairs and has an estimated completion date of November 20, 2017. 


Fireworks Dock:

  • The City’s maritime engineer is developing plans and specifications for repairs and improvements to this facility.  Once completed, these plans will be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources and Army Corps of Engineers for permitting approvals.   The estimated date for advertisement of sealed bids for this project is December 18, 2017.  The city is hopeful that construction will be completed by July of 2018. 


Waterfront Cleanup Efforts

  • The Department of Natural Resources has authorized the City, through its emergency powers to issue contracts for cleanup along the St. Marys Riverfront.  The City has awarded a contract and is moving forward with cleanup effort. 
  • The City’s maritime engineer has conducting soil boring tests of the river bottom in order to properly plan for the rebuilding and improvements of the City’s maritime facilities.
  • The city has approved a contract with CHC contractors to remove the debris from the Wheeler Street boat ramp site, former fireworks and Pavilion dock sites.  Work is ongoing.


City Work Efforts

The City has contracted with Goodwyn, Mills and Caywood, Inc. (GMC) to assist with FEMA contracting and documentation.  City staff, along with GMC continues to assess damages to maritime facilities and all other public owned facilities in the City. The City is working with GA DNR, Federal Park Service, FEMA and GEMA in a cooperative effort.


We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work on storm debris removal throughout the City with City staff and our contractors.  Each day we are seeing improvement, but it will take some time to bring all our roads and walkways to their pre-storm levels.


Trash and Vegetative Waste

The City of St. Marys is on a normal trash collection schedule. The City and its contractors are conducting special collections of vegetative waste from the right of way. Vegetative brush will include storm brush debris.


The city has begun the process of reducing and removing the debris from the Douglas Drive temporary transfer facility.  In the interest of public safety the drop off of vegetative debris is no longer available for city residents at this site.  This site is not available to contractors or landscapers as per GEMA/FEMA regulations. Contractors must go to the County yard waste site.


Vegetative Waste Cleanup Status Information

The city is completing its second and final round of vegetative waste cleanup along the municipal thoroughfares.  We are planning to complete this cleanup no later than November 10, 2017.  The path we are following is:

  • Cumberland Harbor area starting from Carrack Dr. and New Point Peter Rd area. to the North River Causeway area.  
  • From the Causeway go west to Point Peter Rd. intersection going north up to Sloan and Admirals Walk area.
  • From there, south on Douglas Rd. catching everything west on Douglas Dr. continuing to Charlie Smith Hwy.
  • From there, continue south on Pointe Peter Rd. catching everything east and west on Pointe Peter.
  • From there continue south on Dilworth catching all side street west of Dilworth including Chelsea place.
  • From there, remove debris from each street east and west of Osbourne heading Nosrth all the way to North St. across Osbourne Rd.
  • From there, at the intersection of W. Ashley and Dilworth north to the intersection of Osbourne Rd and Dilworth, head west clearing all roads of debris in the area including Spence St. and Dandy St. North of Osbourne Rd. This will also include all streets south of Borrell Blvd. to the end of Borrell Blvd., North Julia St. and all roads east and west of N. Julia. This will also include City Smitty Dr. back to Osbourne Rd.
  • From there we plan to head to the Shadowland Subdivision and check all roads for debris.
  • From there, starting at Osbourne Rd. heading north to St. Mary’s Rd on Charlie Smith Hwy catching everything west back to St. Mary’s Rd.
  • From there, starting at St. Mary’s Rd. south to Colerain Rd. north to Kings Bay Dr. collecting debris in the area including Mission Trace Subdivision. From there, at the intersection of Colerain and Kings Bay Road, clear street north and south of Kings Bay Rd. and west of Colerain to Winding Rd. From there, continue north on Winding Rd. back to Charlie Smith Hwy. clearing debris north and south of Winding Rd.


The City has approximately 120 miles of public roadway to clear. This amounts to a total of 240 road miles, both sides of the street to clear.

  • Hurricane Irma debris is estimated at 40,000 cubic yards.  The total collected during Hurricane Matthew was 20,000 cubic yards. The City has already exceeded 35,000 cubic yards as of this report.
    • The City has contracted with Debris Haulers, Advance Disposal and Barnett Southern, allowing the operation of  nine trucks per day, operating 12 hours per day, 7 days a week to complete the cleanup.
    • Drivers and trucks are being utilized from as far away as Alabama and Northwest Georgia.  Additional trucks are added as they become available.
    • The City vegetative waste site is receiving 80-90 truckloads per day.
    • Vegetative waste piles must not be contaminated or include construction debris.  The trucks are not allowed to pick up mixed piles, per FEMA regulations.


The City follows all FEMA regulations with regard to contracting and pick up of debris. 

  • Trucks are measured and inspected each morning and have a placard confirming they have been certified for hauling vegetative debris. 
  • Loads are inspected to ensure they are not mixed with any other type of debris. 
  • Documentation on all loads is maintained to make sure the City is reimbursed for this cost.
  • The City followed the same procedures during Hurricane Matthew and was fully reimbursed for all costs related to debris removal.


The County yard waste site is located at 4884 Old Still Road in Kingsland and will be open Monday-Saturday from 7am to 5pm.  The City is reviewing the contract regarding pickup of construction debris and will provide an update regarding this possible pickup at a later date.  


Damage Assessments

Camden County, including the City of St. Marys, is now part of a federally declared disaster and residents are eligible for assistance. The online registration process will take 18-20 minutes.

Visit to begin applying for FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency Individual Assistance.


If you need further information or assistance:

Call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362). This number is also for users of 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS). TTY users can call 1-800-462-7585. Helpline services are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center will close on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM. 


Fraud or Identity Theft Claims

The city has received reports from FEMA with regards to possible fraudulent activity and identity theft issues as part of this emergency response.  The following information will inform you on how to report identity theft:


If you would like to report fraudulent activity, please make your report with the FEMA Fraud Branch:

FEMA Fraud and Internal Investigation Division

400 C Street SW Mail Stop 3005

Washington, DC  20472-3005

You may request confidentiality or you may register your complaints anonymously. 


When making a report, please convey as much information as possible such as Who?  What?  Where?  When?  Why? How?