The Glamour of Barrier Island Outlets

November 20, 2017

Outlet to the sea (1)

Photographer: Rob Sheridan 
Summary Author: Rob Sheridan 

Straddling the Georgia-Florida border off the southeast Atlantic coast of the U.S, lies a large barrier island outlet between Georgia’s Cumberland (left or north in aerial photo) and Florida’s Amelia (right or south in aerial photo) barrier islands. Large volumes of freshwater inflow from the confluence of the St. Mary’s, Fancy Bluff, and Amelia Rivers and saltwater tidal surges have formed this major outlet in one of the world’s longest barrier island systems. The resulting shallow and brackish inland waterway and wetlands area nurture unique animals and plants tolerant of wide fluctuations in salinity. Geographically transient outlets in barrier islands, such as this one, often become epicenters of intense natural and human activity.

Lengthy groins heading out to sea (visible in the photograph) have been constructed to reduce sediment deposition by longshore currents, thus prolonging the life of the outlet. The protected waterways of Cumberland Sound (behind the islands in photo) have been valued and contested in North American conflicts over the past 200 years and are currently home to one of America’s largest submarine bases at Kings Bay. Fort Clinch, on the northern portion of Amelia Island, guarded the outlet even through the Second World War. It was built after the Seminole Indian War of 1836-1842, during which violence and bribery were used to force the migration of a diverse collection of Native American tribes from the area. Photo taken on February 25, 2017.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: NIKON; Camera Model: COOLPIX S9700; Focal Length: 14.9mm (35mm equivalent: 84mm); Aperture: ƒ/5.0; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 125.