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Little Blackbeard Island already eroding

Island created by Hurricane Irma weathering away

A new island formed as Irma shifted Blackbeard Creek's channel and blew out part of a narrow finger of land extending from Blackbeard Island south toward Sapelo Island.
A new island formed as Irma shifted Blackbeard Creek's channel and blew out part of a narrow finger of land extending from Blackbeard Island south toward Sapelo Island. (Tommy Jordan and Marguerite Madden)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Just north of Saint Simons Island is the small island that formed from Hurricane Irma which is still there nearly 7 months later but shrinking.

Irma stripped sand with widespread erosion along our coast but some sections grew. One area near Blackbeard Island Georgia, accumulated enough sand during the storm for a 100 acre island.

The island was called Little Blackbeard Island since it is only about half the size of the St. Johns Town Center.

Over the months since Irma, natural processes have eroded the northern side of Little Blackbeard as currents push sand along the coast to the south side of the island according to manager Fred Hay at Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Powerful hurricanes like Irma have formed new islands or inlets in the past.

In some cases new islands or inlets can last for decades or last just a few years before the shoreline returns back to its original state or equilibrium.

Without jetties, Little Blackbeard may not last long due to swift currents.

Hurricane Irma also opened a new channel on the Gulf coast in Pinellas County. Shell Key had been facing problems with stagnant water in the sound but the new opening restored flushing and improved the ecosystem.


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