What is a Best Restored Beach?
For more than 30 years communities around the United States have been restoring their beaches. Although some areas are relatively new to the process, others have a long history of successful replenishment projects. In many cases, the restoration process is so well established that beach enthusiasts are not even aware they are enjoying a restored beach! This often occurs when a community has a large seasonal population and the beach restoration occurs when seasonal residents are not there to see it.
Beach restoration places sand on the beach to increase its width and height, in combination with building high and wide dunes on the back beach. This increases a shoreline’s resiliency, increases the beach’s ability to mitigate storm damage and flooding from severe storms. Additionally, restoring the beach is one of the best methods to allow the beach to naturally adjust to short-term sea level rise and remain an important part of the nearshore ecosystem.
The three important reasons for restoring beaches are:
- Storm protection — A wide sandy beach and high dunes help separate storm waves from upland structures and infrastructure thus reducing the impacts of erosion and flooding
- Habitat restoration — Numerous species rely on wide, healthy beaches as a place to live, feed, and nest
- Recreation — America’s beaches have twice as many visitors annually (more than 2 billion) as all of America’s national parks combined. The combined revenue from beaches and beach-related U.S. tourism is $1.3 trillion, with $124 billion in in annual taxes going to all levels of government.
How Do I Nominate a Best Restored Beach?
Coastal communities can nominate their restoration projects for consideration. Judging is based on three criteria:
- The economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community,
- The short- and long-term success of the restoration project; and
- The challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.