FORT MYERS, FL – From a childhood spent building sand castles to adolescent walks on the beach to adults enjoying family time, America’s beaches are synonymous with celebrating summer. With the beginning of the summer beach season a few days away, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) today released its much-anticipated annual list of the nation’s best restored beaches. This year’s list provides representation from the north Atlantic, mid-Atlantic, south Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts.
The 2018 winners are:
While Americans joyfully celebrate beaches by visiting them, few understand what it takes to keep that beach special. ASBPA created the Best Restored Beach award as a way of highlighting the value of restored beaches. Beach erosion is the number one concern beach tourists have about beaches.
ASBPA and its partners have also developed a Beach Nourishment Database, to provide our members and the public with detailed information on U.S. beach nourishment projects at the national, state, and project level. The database is available at https://gim2.cbi.com/ASBPANationwideRenourishment/
Why should you want to visit a restored beach? Here’s the top reason, according to ASBPA President Tony Pratt – fun. Many of America’s most heavily used beaches are restored beaches – wide and sandy, providing abundant recreational opportunities for beachgoers.
“The summer of 2018 is upon us and people across the nation are dreaming of sun, surf and sand. Their time at the beach is very often the happiest times of their lives,” said Pratt. “We here at ASBPA take that love of the coast very seriously. We honor the efforts that go into managing and, when necessary, rebuilding the beaches that are in the hearts of so many vacationers.
“This year’s Best Restored Beach winners represent a wide variety of beach types that offer unique and varied attributes. I congratulate the winners for their hard work and for the beautiful beaches they have protected and enhanced,” said Pratt. “For more than 50 years, beach restoration has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities. Beach restoration is the process of placing beach-quality sand on dwindling beaches to reverse or offset the effects of erosion.”
The value of healthy coasts:
During times of economic hardship, the beach can be an even more desirable vacation destination than other domestic and foreign alternatives, offering families and visitors an accessible and affordable getaway. It is also a jobs bonanza and tax generator– healthy coasts drive local economies:
To enter the Best Restored Beach competition, coastal communities nominated their projects for consideration, and an independent panel of coastal managers and scientists selected the winners. Judging was based on three criteria:
According to Lee Weishar, Ph.D., chair of the Best Restored Beach Committee responsible for making the selections: “I look for commitment and dedication to the project. I want the applicant to make me love his or her beach.”
This year’s winners spotlight a diverse selection of beaches and challenges, ranging from protecting coastal marshes in a wildlife refuge to protecting upland properties in one of America’s most exclusive locales. What they all have in common, however, is working creatively to address complex coastal issues in way that is sustainable and mitigate the ravages of nature, compatible with the surrounding environment and achievable in the face of both political and natural obstacles.
Here’s a brief overview by Weishar of this year’s Best Restored Beaches:
Outer Banks of North Carolina (Dare County, North Carolina)
This project demonstrated why beach nourishment is the number one method of enhancing beaches, providing protection to adjacent infrastructure and increasing coastal resiliency. In September 2017 as construction was finishing up on the nearly 4.0 million cubic yard project that included parts of the Towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, the project was impacted by three named storms (Irma, Jose and Maria). In March 2018 a series of nor’easters tested the project, including one storm in early March that saw significant storm surge during five consecutive high tides over three days. During this same storm, wave run-up in Kill Devil Hills topped 15 ft. But that’s what the project was built for. The take-home message for these projects is a multi-town beach nourishment project can be successful even when the odds seem to be against you.
Galveston Island, Texas
Galveston Island is primarily a beach tourism-driven economy, with approximately 7 million visitors a year to Galveston’s beaches. This restoration project provided nearly 27 additional acres of coastal beach, dune, and enhanced recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Previously, the erosion problem on Galveston was viewed as unstoppable. However, this project helped develop a greater understanding of the ongoing coastal processes, and the approach to public policy decision making has become more science based than “seat of the pants.” This project is significant because it was the very first beach project implemented on the Texas coast whose project volume exceeds 1 million cubic yards — by far the largest project ever in Texas, and potentially twice the size of the previous largest project pending final surveys.
Cardiff Beach, Encinitas, California
The goals of this project were to improve the condition of Cardiff State Beach, protect a major highway (Coast Highway 101), increase the recreational use opportunities at the beach and improve sandy beach habitat. All these goals were met. The beach is now wider and consists of clean beach-quality material. Additionally, the economic benefits from the project are increased tourism dollars spent by recreational users and taxes collected by local governments. Additional economic benefits can be realized through the reduction in damage to both property and infrastructure, and emergency costs associated with road closures and repairs.
Thompsons Beach, New Jersey
Thompsons Beach was selected because it demonstrated how beach restoration can be successfully used to enhance both ecosystem and recreational benefits. This project used a science-based restoration process that not only provided the resources needed to sustain ecological benefits to horseshoe crabs and the federally listed red knot; by way of adaptive management, but also illustrated the power of a public/private partnership, its ability to overcome regulatory and logistical obstacles, and still provide needed resiliency for the natural and human-built environs. Additionally, the project enhanced the beach by removing 965.5 tons of concrete rubble, wood, and other debris prior to sand placement.
Sagaponack Bridegehampton Beaches, New York
Sagaponack Bridgehampton Beach Project was selected because it demonstrated the importance of private and public partnerships which showed that not all beach nourishment projects need to depend on the federal government for funding. Additionally, the project demonstrated that wider beaches and higher dunes increases shoreline resiliency and increases flood protection. This project also shows that restored beaches enhanced vital habitat for the endangered piping plover and threatened least tern, and significantly increases recreation beach areas for the Hamptons. The committee especially like this project because the wider dry sand beach has resulted in natural dune accretion rates averaging nearly 4 cubic yards per foot per year during the first four years after nourishment. The combination of increased width and elevation of the beach/dune system has increased resiliency of the coast during numerous winter storm events since project completion.
A complete list of award-winning beaches, and more information about beach restoration and ASBPA, is available online at www.asbpa.org. Winners will be honored during ASBPA’s annual Coastal Summit held in Washington, DC, in spring 2019.
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ABOUT ASBPA: Founded in 1926, the ASBPA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for healthy coastlines by promoting the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. For more information on ASBPA, go to www.asbpa.org, Facebook or www.twitter.com/asbpa. This information is provided by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. For information, to change your email address or to unsubscribe from this list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete collection of Beach News Service articles is available for media access online at https://asbpa.org/news/newsroom_beachnews.htm.
Local contacts and photos available for all winning beaches…
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