ASBPA Awards 2023 Best Restored Beaches
Highlighting national projects that provide storm protection, habitat restoration, and recreation
The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association is proud to release our much-anticipated annual list of the nation’s best restored beaches. The award winning projects this year are Central Reach Reimbursement Project (CRR) Holden Beach, North Carolina; City of Boca Raton, City of Deerfield Beach and Town of Hillsboro Beach, Florida Joint Nourishment Project; and Foss Park District, North Chicago, Illinois.
The goal of ASBPA’s annual best restored beach award is to acknowledge community beach restoration projects around the United States which increase a shoreline’s resiliency, the beach’s ability to mitigate storm damage and flooding from severe storms, and naturally allow the beach to adjust to short-term sea level rise while remaining an important part of the nearshore ecosystem. ASBPA created the annual award list to highlight the value of restored beaches.
Projects are judged on three criteria: the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community; short and long term success of the restoration project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project. “We appreciate each year all those who nominate their worthy projects for consideration. This year’s restored beach award recipients represent a variety of beach types, and I congratulate them for the hard work and beautiful beaches they have protected and enhanced,” said ASBPA President Gary Jones, Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
The Central Reach Reimbursement Project (CRR) in Holden Beach, North Carolina was selected as a Best Restored Beach as this project demonstrated a long-term commitment by the community to nourish and renourish their beach after a series of severe storms devastated the beach from 2017 to 2022. The project was designed as a repair project from storm damage but was the first of its kind to combine multiple FEMA storm repair projects into one large initiative. The primary goals for beach nourishment were to protect infrastructure, property, and habitat while secondary goals were to fuel the tourist economy by providing more beach for visitors and to mitigate any impacts of future storms to the island. The project overcame difficulties in finding adequate sand resources which included encountering unanticipated pockets of rock which required sand borrow site adjustments. The project was successful even though construction ceased early due to regulatory issues.
The combined City of Boca Raton, City of Deerfield Beach and Town of Hillsboro, Florida Joint Nourishment Project was selected for a Best Restored Beach award as it demonstrated how the partnership between three municipalities, each represented by their own consultant, could enter into a tri-party agreement to accomplish a large-scale project that was beneficial to all three municipalities. It also demonstrated how the municipalities could share permits and work together to accomplish a common goal.
The primary objective of the project was to provide cost-effective renourishment to the Boca Raton, Deerfield, and Hillsboro’s shorelines using the Boca Raton Inlet ebb shoal as the sand source. Historically, each municipality constructed their own projects individually with Boca Raton using dredged material from the ebb shoal and Deerfield Beach and Hillsboro Beach using truck-hauled sand from upland mines. Combining the projects led to a cost savings for all three municipalities while enhancing bypassing from sand trapped in the Boca Raton ebb tidal delta.
The Foss Park District was selected as a Best Restored beach as it combined beach nourishment for a recreational beach and a coastal habitat restoration component into the project. The project restored approximately 1,300 feet of shoreline with approximately half dedicated to recreational swimming and the other half to coastal habitat restoration. Additionally, the project successfully integrated gray-green restoration components and “T” head and recurved groins to hold the nourished sand for the recreational beach.
The project provided direct benefit to an economically challenged community and incorporated ADA access along with the recreational sand beach. The project was privately funded through an alternative tax revenue bond and demonstrates how a community can work together and fund a restoration project for mutual community benefit.
Congratulations to the 2023 Best Restored Beach Award Recipients! Beaches help generate $225 billion a year for the national economy, contributing about $25 billion in federal tax revenue, while beach tourism generates $45 billion annually and is the leading U.S. tourist destination.
The Best Restored Beach award project teams will be honored during the spring 2024 ASBPA Coastal Summit in Washington, DC. A complete list of best restored beaches and information on the science and policy of beach restoration are available at https://asbpa.org/about-us/awards-program/.