As a result of dredging the channel, the Savannah District Corps of Engineers constructed a shore bird nesting island in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of South Carolina between Tybee Island, Georgia, and Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, named Tomkins Island. The island was specifically created for bird habitat and lies in the open ocean. The island provides rare protected habitat for a variety of beach nesting birds and created storage capacity in Jones/Oysterbed Island dredged material containment area, thus extending the life of that sediment containment area.
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The island is named for Mr. Ivan Tomkins who was an employee of the Savannah District Corps of Engineers in the second quarter of the twentieth century. He was one of the first individuals to recognize the region to be rich in important bird habitat. Tomkins collected specimens and authored numerous articles on birds for Georgia and South Carolina environmental organizations and was a charter member of the Georgia Ornithological Society. His work led to Savannah Harbor dredged material containment areas now being recognized as “Important Bird Habitat” by Audubon of South Carolina.
Construction of the island was part of the mitigation requirements for continued maintenance dredging of Savannah Harbor, as part of the 1996 Long Term Management Strategy (LTMS) for Savannah Harbor.
Special features of the LTMS included an innovative wetland mitigation plan, a focus on bird habitat, cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The LTMS required construction of the offshore island and the creation of fourteen one-acre islands within harbor dredged material containment areas as mitigation for creating a new dredged material containment area.