See below for past winners and project details.
See below for past winners and project details.
Since the initial, locally funded beach nourishment in 1998, the City of Sarasota has maintained the beaches of Lido Key while the processing, design, and permitting of the federally authorized Lido Key Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction (HSDR) Project was completed. Originally a manmade island, Lido Key has been maintained by the city through six previous nourishment projects. In 2020-21, the initial construction of the Lido Key HSDR project was conducted and included the placement of 700,000 cubic yards of sand and construction of two rock groins. With the completion of the Lido Key HSDR project, continued storm protection for the upland roads and buildings, recreational beach areas for both residents and tourists, and environmental habitat for nesting sea turtles and shorebirds will be provided through the federally authorized design for the next 50 years.
Located in one of the most critically eroded areas in Florida, the St. Joseph Peninsula Beach Renourishment Project provides protection for more than three miles of northwest Florida beaches. Constructed using a combination of funding sources, this non-federal project overcame numerous obstacles related to project cost, community support, and hurricane impacts and delays and was completed in 2019. The project included the placement of over 700,000 cubic yards of sand. It was the second time the area had been nourished following an initial nourishment project approximately 10 years prior.
The Upham Beach Stabilization Project in Pinellas County, Florida was completed in October 2018 and included the construction of four t-head groins through the placement of approximately 25,000 tons of limestone boulders ranging from two to seven tons. The project was over 25 years in the making, starting with the 1992 Inlet Management Plan for Blind Pass and included test configurations with geotextile tubes, advanced numerical modeling, stakeholder meetings, and use of monitoring data to identify structural alternatives to install a permanent solution for the stabilization of Upham Beach. Following the installation of the permanent rock groins, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracted dredging of Blind Pass with placement of 151,000 cubic yards of sand on Upham Beach as part of the Pinellas County Shore Protection Project renourishment in 2019. The reduction in sand placement volume needs exceeds the $7.1 million cost to install the structures and will continue to provide significant cost savings well into the future. As climate change triggers both higher sea levels and stronger storm events, a wide sandy beach remains the best protection from both encroaching seas and storm driven waves. Beaches help generate $225 billion a year for the national economy, contributing about $25 billion in federal tax revenue. Beach tourism generates $45 billion annually in taxes and returns $570 in federal taxes for each federal dollar spent and beaches are the leading U.S. tourist destination for both national and international visitors.
The Cardiff State Beach Living Shoreline Project is the first Southern California project to test this unique nature-based solution to provide beach erosion and flood protection of a vulnerable coastal asset. The project created a coastal dune with repurposed buried rock revetment and cobblestone and 30,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the San Elijo Lagoon inlet; the dune was then planted with native vegetation. The project extends 2,900 feet and protects Highway 101 from storm events.
South Benson Marina Dredging & Jennings Beach Nourishment Project in Fairfield, Connecticut, is a municipal marina serving the community with marina facilities, but is also adjacent to Jennings Beach, which provides over 2,000 feet of sandy beach shoreline for public use. This project dredged approximately 27,000 cubic yards material to benefit navigation and placed it along Jennings Beach to enhance the public recreational beach. A project of this size and type is unique in the State of Connecticut and the Long Island Sound region, where dredged material has historically been disposed of offshore with no chance for beneficial reuse.
Keansburg Beachfront Restoration in Keansburg, New Jersey – Implementing a multi-million dollar beach replenishment program and multi-phase beachfront project, the Borough of Keansburg successfully restored their 2.5 miles of shoreline that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The coastal New Jersey town along the Raritan Bay accomplished their beachfront restoration utilizing 1.1 million cubic yards of sand and reconstructed 10,000 square feet of the Baywalk. The Beachfront Restoration project fortified the Borough’s storm resiliency in addition to creating a more robust, damage resistant Baywalk.
Norriego Point Stabilization and Restoration Project’s primary objective was to provide Destin, Florida, residents and tourists with more and diverse recreational opportunities such as protected swimming areas and extensive shoreline for boat access/landing, and beach access. This project created 1,200 feet of publicly accessible recreation shoreline by rehabilitating existing groin structures and installing additional T-groins. The project also included dune restoration and re-vegetation with native plants.
The Tybee Island Beach and Dune Restoration Project, Tybee Island, Georgia, increased their resiliency to flooding events while enhancing the natural habitat, including federally protected sea turtle nesting sites and endangered bird species, that is so vital to the environmental and economic health of the city. It is the first time the City built dunes as an integral resiliency feature augmenting a federal beach nourishment. Approximately 1.3 million cubic yards of sand was placed along 15,000 feet of shoreline, including 70,000 cubic yards for dune construction.
Caminada Headland, Louisiana: The Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration project represents the progress of the coastal restoration efforts after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. This project was selected as the largest coastal restoration effort constructed in Louisiana, restoring 13 miles of shoreline at a cost of $216 million.
Planning and design of this project had just begun when the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred, and essential cleanup efforts delayed critical surveys. A tropical storm and a hurricane battered the Headland just prior to beach construction. Two other concurrent restoration projects on the Headland necessitated extensive coordination during beach construction
The project restored more than 1,050 acres of beach and dune habitats by placing more than 8.8 million cubic yards of sand from the Ship Shoal Borrow Area more than 32 nautical miles from the project. Innovative measures such as robust monitoring and abatement tactics to reduce impacts were implemented to protect beach-nesting and migratory bird populations.
Nearly 200 sea turtles were successful relocated from the borrow area to adjacent foraging grounds, further demonstrating how beach restoration construction and the resident species can co-exist while creating an improved environment. More than 195,000 native plants and nearly 72,500 linear feet of sand fencing were installed to promote the conservation of sand on the island.
South Padre Island, Texas: The City of South Padre Island sits at the southern end of a unique Texas barrier island. This densely developed tourist destination coexists with some of the most pristine beaches on the Texas shoreline. The South Padre Island Beneficial Use of Dredged Material (BUDM) project was selected thanks to the innovative methods used to make it possible. This nearshore berm and sand tracing study involved multiple federal, state, NGOs, academic and local municipal entities assembled in less than six months.
The city has been conducting beach restoration activities for more than 30 years, including its long successful tradition of using this dredged sand material. This allows the city to remain a popular tourist destination while it continues to enhance the island’s dune and beach system. These efforts have helped stabilize the island, protecting the homes and business that lie west of the beach. The City of South Padre Island does not have a seawall, so it relies entirely on natural shoreline protection.
The BUDM project widened a portion of the city’s beach, yielding a higher quality public beach within the project area, increasing beach access, improving economic activity and associated tax revenues, reducing the cost of post-storm response, lessening infrastructure maintenance and relocations costs; enhancing habitat value in the healthy beach/dune system, and cutting future erosion response costs. Furthermore, widening the beach in front of private property protects those structures and residents by decreasing damage caused by storm events and their wave action, thus reducing insurance losses.
Waypoint Park Beach, Bellingham, WA: Bellingham’s Waypoint Park, named for the iconic industrial art installation (also known as the Acid Ball from the old GP paper mill) located in the new park, provides an opportunity for the entire community to enjoy otherwise limited access to the waterfront along this newly created beach. This park provides treasured waterfront access, uncommon in Bellingham’s urban waterfront, at a former brownfield site. The restored beach is highlighted in contrast to the reminders of the community’s industrial past that make this park unique. The beach adds a natural element to the once fully armored and sand-starved shorelines along Whatcom Waterway which runs through the heart of the Bellingham, and significant investment has focused on improving and enhancing the habitat along the estuary’s edge.
The project design accounted for projected sea level rise and provided improved storm damage protection through its higher elevations along width of the beach, the stabilizing rock groin, placed logs, vegetation, and a gently sloping beach. The entire ecological community benefits from this project, which included isolating the underlying low level contaminated soils, added cobble and beach sediment for forage fish spawning and native plantings to create habitat and improve aesthetics.
The beach is used as a kayak launch site, which will soon be augmented by a restaurant, public market, and small boat rental facility in the adjacent refurbished 1930s Granary Building. The park incorporates non-motorized access for bikers and pedestrians, as well as paths compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, allowing the entire community to enjoy the waterfront.
Duval County, Florida: The Duval County Shore Protection Project encompasses some of the most beautiful beaches along the U.S. eastern seaboard, attracting millions of tourists to visit Hanna Park, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach. It is unprecedented for a project team to complete back-to-back major sand renourishments on more than eight miles of shoreline after two major hurricanes – Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017 – all the while restoring critical sea turtle and bird nesting habitat, and completing the work with very minor cost increases.
This project exemplified how to execute and succeed in the face of compounding challenges associated with the magnitude of impacts from consecutive major hurricane years and navigating federal, state, and local procedural and procurement environments. Multiple stakeholders including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, City of Jacksonville, Olsen & Associates, beach communities and residents all worked to overcome obstacles. State and federal agencies worked tirelessly and accelerated normal process timeframes, making this project a model for other communities.
Hurricane Matthew caused a loss of about 680,000 cubic yards of sand from the beach. The stakeholders’ emergency preparedness and response restored the beach to pre-storm conditions in record time. This reduced the impacts resulting from Hurricane Irma, which caused a loss of roughly 660,000 cubic yards of sand. The Corps of Engineers was able to take advantage of existing beach construction contracts to cost-effectively repair the shoreline after the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, and again following Irma. The project team showed dedication, hard work and commitment in achieving unprecedented project goals and schedules.
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.
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.
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.
Dauphin Island Restoration Project (Alabama): The Dauphin Island East End Beach and Barrier Island Restoration Project was a non-federal project which combined recreation, habitat protection and storm damage prevention into one project. The project restored almost one mile of highly eroding beach by placing 320,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand on the eroding barrier beach. The restored beach is on Alabama’s only barrier island and provides protection to the Audubon Bird sanctuary that is an important migratory rest stop that is heavily used by bird watchers.
Additionally, the beach restoration project restored a historically eroding beach that had lost over 700 feet of shoreline, so that portions of the restored beach are almost 400 feet in width. The newly restored beach is now a recreational destination for both residents and tourists. This project combines some of the most important features that we look for in a restored beach project.
Phipps Ocean Park Beach Restoration Project (Florida): Phipps Ocean Park is located in the Town of Palm Beach, Florida. The 2016 beach and dune restoration project placed over a million cubic yards of sand over more than 2 miles of shoreline on the beach and dune.
This project is a prime example of the effective management of eroded beaches through the strategic implementation of modern nourishment practice and is a key element of a Town-wide nourishment program. The project has resulted in the conversion of a highly eroded and vulnerable shoreline into a healthy beach and dune system that provides storm protection, recreational use and nesting habitat for sea turtle and bird species. The project provides storm protection and resilience for upland properties.
Not only does the project provide direct benefits in the project area but it also re-establishes the natural supply of sand for beaches to the south by acting as a feeder beach. In this way the project increases the overall health of the coastal system improving the stability of critically eroded beaches on Palm Beach Island.
Popponesset Spit Barrier Beach Nourishment Project (Massachusetts): For almost two decades Save Popponesset Bay has worked with Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Town of Mashpee to protect one of the town’s most valuable natural resources – the 4,000-foot-long barrier beach known as Popponesset Spit. The “Spit” provides vital shelter to the flourishing ecology of Popponesset Bay, affords critical storm damage protection to hundreds of properties around the Bay, protects numerous navigation channels, and is home to many endangered shorebird species.
Historically, the Spit eroded at roughly 5 ft/yr, which led to significant narrowing of the beach, numerous dune breaches, and storm overwash. Channel dredging, the primary source of beach nourishment, had not yielded a sufficient volume to keep up with erosion and sea level rise. Consequently, the Spit was disappearing, and the community knew a longer term solution was necessary.
In 2013 volunteers launched the first campaign to fund a substantial nourishment project. Thanks to strong community support, more than 60,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the dunes and beach to restore the height and dune elevation for about two-thirds of the spit. The ongoing project has significantly improved the resilience of the Spit and the Bay and is helping to restore natural habitat for endangered water birds, mitigate erosion, improve storm damage prevention for the Bay and surrounding area, and enhance navigational safety and reliability. The partnership of all stakeholders stays strong by working on a common goal: Save the Spit and the Bay.
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Barrier Beach Restoration Project (Delaware): The Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge beach restoration project was a federal project funded by the Hurricane Sandy Relief Act, restoring two miles of a beach/berm/dune/back barrier complex with 1.4 million cubic yards of sand.
This is one of the few restoration projects that is totally dedicated to protecting and increasing the resiliency of wetland resources. The wetlands and marshes within the Delaware River Estuary have long been nurseries for juvenile fish. The marshes supply the abundant game fish to the sport and commercial fishing industries, which are economic engines providing vital income to local economies within the estuary.
This restoration project restored two miles of barrier beach that protects landward marshes from wave attack. The restoration placed approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of sand on the barrier beach to construct a protective beach and dune system. An unintended result of this restoration was the establishment of a Least Tern nesting colony and the first ever Piping Plover nest.
This is a great example of restoring a barrier beach to enhance/protect wetland resources that benefit the entire regional economy. This project increases barrier beach and wetland resiliency while helping maintain a vital fishing industry which is an economic driver within the Delaware River Estuary.
Sandbridge Beach Restoration Project (Virginia): This renourishment project is located in the city of Virginia Beach and has been re-nourished four times since 1998. An estimated 7.8 million cubic yards of sand have been placed on five miles of beach with a total known cost of $43.8 million.
This project shows how a town, private landowners and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can come together to protect houses; and that a community can find creative ways to fund their share of the project by creating a local tax district. The community could have armored the shoreline with higher seawalls and rip-rap, but choose instead to undertake a beach nourishment project to restore their beach.
The restored beach has increased the coastal resiliency of this shore while returning much needed sand to the littoral system. Prior to the restoration, there was no high-tide beach along this section of shoreline. The residents and the city proactively worked with the USACE to develop a federal project that not only restored the beach and dune ecosystem but dramatically reduced property damage and loss from severe storms.
Babe’s Beach, Galveston, TX: Galveston Island is a tourism-driven economy, with more than 6 million visitors a year to Galveston’s beaches. This project area — named in honor of a legendary figure in coastal Texas history, former State Senator A.R. “Babe” Schwartz, an early leader to protect the public’s right to access the beach — has been completely submerged since Hurricane Carla in 1961. This restoration project has provided (at a minimum) 34 additional acres of coastal beach and dune habitat for native species, enhanced recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, and served to help grow the Galveston economy. This economic development is possible because the beach area west of 61st Street is the last “undeveloped” area along Galveston’s shoreline.
Another benefit is the confidence this project has fostered in the island’s Sand Management Plan. Previously, the area west of 61st Street was almost a forgotten area, with “common knowledge” saying restoration would not be possible due to the anticipated high cost. That was proven not to be true, and this project helps to set the stage for future restoration efforts along the length of the seawall to 103rd Street. Within the project area beach visitation, hotel occupancy, and parking along Seawall Blvd. have dramatically increased.
This project is nationally significant because it was the very first beach and dune habitat restoration project implemented on Galveston’s Gulf shoreline utilizing Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials (BUDM). It also proved that a project does not have to contain multiple millions of cubic yards to be successful, and that with the right planning documents and local will almost anything can be accomplished.
Rosewood Beach, Highland Park, IL: The Park District of Highland Park’s recently completed restoration of Rosewood Beach, located in Highland Park, IL, represents the combination of two separate but complementary projects — a unique opportunity to build an ecosystem restoration project concurrent with a separate recreation and education project, resulting in the restoration of beach, bluff and ravine ecosystems along a 1,500-foot section of the west shore of Lake Michigan.
The two projects represent the culmination of a waterfront vision for the site that dates back to 1928, when the land was donated to the Park District by Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears, Roebuck Co. The planning and implementation of these projects included extensive resident involvement, strong partnerships and a clear vision to blend ecological best practices with forward-thinking recreational and educational programming to serve the community’s needs today and for future generations.
Seabrook Island, SC: To combat ongoing and severe erosion, Seabrook Island management adopted a soft engineering strategy, the cornerstone of which is periodic relocation of Cap’n Sams Inlet. Rather than stabilizing the inlet itself or heavily armoring the shoreline, the inlet is allowed to migrate naturally at ~200 feet per year for about every 15 years over a designated inlet conservation zone ‐ a length of coast that is left in a natural state between each event. Repeated projects, many years apart, allow new sand spit formation and washover habitat sought by certain threatened species, such as the piping plover and red knot.
Each inlet relocation has required more than one attempt to close the old channel – the most difficult aspect of projects like this. With each project, construction efficiencies have improved and the result was ultimately the same: a viable new inlet was created, and the old inlet stayed closed so that sand in the abandoned ebb tidal delta moved onshore and naturally nourished Seabrook Island’s beach. The results have been a cost effective management strategy for maintaining a healthy shoreline. The positive ecological impacts of the project include creating additional dry sand beach above the high tide line for turtle nesting sites and maintaining unvegetated washovers and tidal pool areas for additional piping plover habitat.
The project results in an accreting shoreline downcoast that promotes the formation of healthy dunes to protect the island from tidal surges associated with large storms. The sand that accumulates on the beach is a fine sand from shoals that move in from just offshore that matches the existing sand on the beach perfectly without utilizing offshore sand resources.
Topsail Beach, NC: In an era where federal funding for beach nourishment projects is quickly drying up and the need to maintain a beautiful recreational beach and provide substantial coastal protection is at an all-time high, coastal communities must find creative solutions to develop and maintain a successful beach nourishment. This project has been an example of how an individual community can work with non-federal agencies to create new funding mechanisms, provide multi-level benefits to the community, create political unity within the community, and do so while being a steward of the environment.
The town achieved this through a number of steps:
Ultimately, the Topsail Beach project is a holistic program providing a multitude of benefits, proof that a small community can regroup when necessary, think outside the box to complete multiple goals, and develop a long-term strategy that works within the town’s financial constraints. It has been the inspiration and catalyst for a new financial partnership between North Carolina and its coastal communities aimed at protecting the coastal systems as a whole. Its performance for the past year, including a heavy battering by Hurricane Joaquin, proves that the Topsail Beach program provides substantial shoreline protection in the form of a beautiful and natural beach.
Redondo Beach, CA: Redondo Beach is renowned for the many amenities it offers residents — such as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, surfing year-round (in December 2005 it received some of the largest wave ever recorded at 15-20 feet) and beach volleyball — and the more than 2 million visitors it receives every year. Of course, none of these could be possible without the wide and flat sandy beaches.
The beach area has undergone several nourishment projects since the 1930s. During the last project, 160,000 cubic yards of clean sand was dredged from the Marina del Rey harbor’s north entrance and barged south just offshore at Redondo Beach. About 75,000 cubic yards of sand were placed onshore between the jetty and the beach area; the remaining 85,000 cubic yards were placed offshore for future nourishment needs.
The nourished beach not only allows recreational activities to continue, but it provides public infrastructure protection from storm waves and allows the economic vitality of the local area to thrive.
West Destin, FL: This project – an initial effort targeting 1.6 miles of critically eroded beach hit by a number of tropical storm events – endured significant controversy, misinformation, litigation and other challenges, which nevertheless led to the construction of a well-performing hallmark of beach restoration. Through sound project planning and design, construction administration and significant public outreach, the project’s success helped to alter the local perspective toward beach nourishment by easing concerns of maintaining the natural sand quality, beach aesthetics and economic productivity.
The restoration project provided substantial economic and ecological benefits to the community, it has achieved short- and long-term success, and the sponsors and project team overcame significant political and environmental challenges during the course of the project. The Western Destin Beach Restoration Project also accomplished multiple objectives typically associated with a beach restoration project — increased storm protection, erosion mitigation, habitat restoration, recreational benefits to the community and economic resiliency for the region.
Folly Beach, SC: In August 2011, after Hurricane Irene passed off the coast of South Carolina and rendered certain facilities at Folly Beach County Park inaccessible, the park was closed and public access and parking for over 400 cars on the west end of Folly Island was eliminated. This project restored the beach and allowed the reopening of one of Charleston’s most important public beaches. Without this project, the park would still be closed.
Additionally, this Best Restored Beach provided a beach and dune area that facilitated sea turtle nesting and shorebird habitat on the west end of Folly Island. Skimmer Flats, a major Eastern Brown Pelican rookery, is adjacent to the park site so restoring the beach was important to that population as well. The key element of the plan was construction of a terminal groin to retain sand; dune plantings were incorporated as well.
Galveston, TX: The Dellanera Park-End of Seawall beach nourishment project is not a large or overwhelming project compared to others around the country but it is the “little project that could” – succeeding where a proposed $42 million project could not. It truly is a precedent-setting accomplishment and is the road map future projects will be measured against in Galveston and possibly the entire state of Texas, depending on the future application of the court’s Severance decision concerning private ownership of the Texas beachfront.
Through the tireless efforts of local officials and the Texas General Land Office, a publicly funded project was completed on the beaches of West Galveston Island where just five years before a Texas Supreme Court decision had resulted in the cancellation of a $42 million, six-mile-long project. Prevailing wisdom said a project using public funding could not be built on Galveston Island; the Dellanera Park-End of Seawall Beach Nourishment/Dune Restoration Project served to disprove that thought.
Santa Monica State Beach, CA: For nearly 130 years, Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, California, has been a dynamic link between the natural and man-made worlds, providing equal access to all who wish to congregate near this part of the coast. The existing wide beach in Santa Monica owes its existence primarily to the offshore breakwater. North Beach is characterized by an abundance of sand and sweeping views of Santa Monica Bay. South Beach is alive with popular “people places” such as Chess Park and the original Muscle Beach. It is here that the modern Southern California “beach culture” – surfing, beach volleyball, rollerblading, skateboarding, and spectacular sunsets – got its start. The historic Santa Monica Pier connects the more contemplative North Beach with lively South Beach. Up to 50,000 people enjoy the beach on a typical summer day – with 5 million visits annually – making it one of the region’s most treasured public assets.
Offering spectacular views, opportunities for recreation and social interaction, and a touch of history and culture, Santa Monica State Beach is one of 10 APA Great Public Spaces in America for 2008. The designation stems from the beach’s commitment to accessibility, environmental stewardship and historic preservation, and maintaining its distinctive character. The beach stretches 3.5 miles along the California coast, from the beaches of Malibu to the coastline of Venice. Featuring 245 acres of sand, the beach is framed by a series of linear parks, some with playgrounds, a restored historic pergola and gazebo, native landscaping, and the iconic palm tree.
South Hutchinson Island/St. Lucie County, FL: In September 2004, St. Lucie County suffered the impact on the beaches of both Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne within a period of 21 days. The community determined they could not wait for federal action Study and requested the county construct an interim non-federal project as storm protection for upland property. The exceptional success of the project can be measured in several ways:
Aquia Landing County Park, Stafford County, VA: The park location and adjacent bluff is an important heritage area to the Patawomack Native American Tribe (famous as the tribe visited by Captain John Smith and home clan of Pocahontas). It also is one of the earliest beach projects in the United States to use near shore breakwaters and the “headland beach” approach to protect eroding lands and to create a recreational resource. Most significantly, the Aquia Landing restored beach has served the citizens of Stafford County and Northern Virginia for 27 years while weathering hurricanes and storms, with minimal need for maintenance, while amply fulfilling its intended purpose. Aquia Landing exemplifies how a small, “sheltered-shores” restored beach can be an important and vital part of the community it serves.
Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, FL: Overcoming decades of frustration, a diverse group of stakeholders combined innovation with determination to restore this highly eroded 9.4 miles of shoreline far ahead of schedule during the first restoration in 2000. Since then, the beach has exceeded expectations in the face of extraordinary storm events in 2004 and 2012, turning a shoreline lined with seawalls and rock revetments into one of wide beaches and flourishing dunes, drawing tourists and turtles alike to its inviting sandy shores.
Iroquois Point Beach, Oahu, HI: The Iroquois Point beach nourishment project turned a deteriorated and chronically eroding shoreline, which contributed to a degraded nearshore marine environment, into a beautiful and stable sand beach community recreational resource and greatly improved marine habitat.
Located on the south shore of the island of Oahu, immediately west of the Pearl Harbor entrance channel, the 4,200-foot-long project shoreline had been eroding for more than 80 years, receding up to 300 feet at the west end, resulting in the need to relocate sewer and other utility lines. In recent years, accelerated shoreline and red earthen erosion had resulted in sediment plumes that chronically clouded the waters along the Iroquois Point shoreline.
North Topsail Beach, NC: North Topsail Beach is a poster child for communities that struggle with small-town politics, environmental opposition, and the financial means to undertake a major capital project to show that, even when the odds are against you, persistence and ingenuity can result in a successful shoreline management program. Residents, recognizing that wide sandy beaches were their area’s best asset, decided that curbing the loss of beach was critical to their future – not only to afford our residents and visitors with recreation and access to the ocean, but also to protect properties from storm damage.
Delray Beach, FL: Since the initial beach nourishment in 1973, Delray Beach has made a major comeback. Once at risk of being overtaken by the ocean, Highway A1A and its neighboring properties have been protected by the widened beach. Delray Beach is known throughout the United States as a desirable beach destination, making it an important economic asset to both the city and state. Since 1973, the beach has had five periodic renourishment project and one storm damage repair project in 2005. Delray Beach continues to provide storm protection for the upland roads and buildings, recreational beach areas for both residents and tourists, and environmental habitat for nesting sea turtles and shorebirds. The beach has performed better with every project and is the quintessential example of a beach nourishment success story.
Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA: The Edgartown Beach and Dune Restoration Project has been a huge success for public and private stakeholders alike. The multi-faceted regional dredging and beach nourishment project has increased the width of the recreation beach on both the private and public beaches from several feet to several hundred feet over the three-year length of the project. In addition to the much-needed storm damage protection and flood control that the regional nourishment project has provided to the state highway and badly eroding public and private barrier beaches, the Cow Bay Beach has become a destination for endangered nesting shorebirds.
Although the project was plagued with regulatory hurdles, insufficient sand volumes, very narrow dredging windows and strict marine fisheries restrictions, the obstacles were overcome – and the frequently overwashed, badly eroding barrier beaches within the project limits have been successfully restored and functioning beyond expectation.
Long Beach, CT: Long Beach West is a highlight-worthy project on several fronts including the ecological benefits the site brings to its community, the complexity of the restoration work accomplished, the challenges overcome during the course of the project and the short and long term success of the project.
This site is one of the largest remaining stretches of barrier beach in coastal Connecticut, providing shelter and protection to the adjacent 700-acre salt marsh system. The site provides critical nesting habitat for federally threatened piping plovers and state threatened least terns, is an important migratory bird stopover area, and is home to five state-listed plant species as well as critical shellfish beds.
The restoration of the site entailed complete removal of all hazardous materials including lead, asbestos, and PCBs, as well as the houses and debris, preventing contamination on nearby federal lands and surrounding coastal habitat. In total the restoration team removed 37 bungalows, 25 outbuildings, four docks and piles of trash and hazardous materials. Approximately 85 % of the debris removed from the site was successfully recycled.
Nags Head Beach, NC: Why is Nags Head’s beach the best restored beach in the United States? Because it is a survivor – figuratively and literally. The first of its kind on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, even before construction began the Nags Head’s project had to overcome hurdles such as the perception that beach nourishment was not a feasible alternative for the area. But, with storms of varying degrees continually washing away property and streets, and firefighters having to evacuate people from homes nearly entirely surrounded by the ocean during larger storms, Nags Head had to take action.
Before Nags Head’s nourishment project was completed in the fall of 2011, it had to survive its first test – Hurricane Irene. With no loss of sand from the nourishment area during the storm, the project provided much needed protection from Irene’s high surf. A little more than a year later, the project again proved its worth when Hurricane Sandy skirted Nags Head, resulting in little damage and negligible overwash into the streets. Unfortunately, other communities on the Outer Banks who had not yet nourished their beach did not fare as well as Nags Head.
Today, Nags Head’s beach nourishment project is considered to be a success and the area continues to thrive as a result. The project has been so popular locally that several other Outer Banks communities are now looking into developing their own nourishment projects.
Pelican Island, LA: Recognizing the Pelican Island Restoration Project as a top restored beach provides a different view of beach restoration, one that acknowledges that beaches are a critical part of the environment and habitat protection. The Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) and National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recognized that restoring Pelican Island was important for the environmental aspects of this project. Pelican Island acts as a first line of protection for Louisiana, reducing storm surges and maintaining an estuarine gradient within the bays behind. The Island also provides protection for significant shellfish beds that produce commercially valuable products.
Restoring Pelican Island was also a lynch-pin project for the maintaining the barrier island shoreline of Barataria. If this project had not been conceived and moved through to construction the efforts to restore the adjacent shorelines, thereby re-establishing a 19-mile expanse of this shoreline may have merely been determined unfeasible. It was the action to boldly go forward with the challenging project that made the investment in the effort worthwhile and will likely have major far-reaching effects into the future of the southeast coastal Louisiana.
Sargent Beach, TX: The Sargent Beach project could be called “the little project that could.” It was not only constructed in an interesting and constantly changing scenario of challenges to the Texas Open Beaches Act, but it also met all the “Goals and Objectives, as outlined in the Preliminary Engineering Report for Sargent East:
Venice Beach, CA: Iconic Venice Beach, located between Santa Monica Beach and Marina del Rey, is a major tourist and recreational destination in Los Angeles County. The beach spans approximately 2.5 miles and offers ample opportunity for sunbathing, surfing, swimming, and people-watching. Facilities along the beach include a skateboard park, a pedestrian walkway and bike path, paved parking lots, basketball courts, the famed muscle beach fitness area, and the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Division Headquarters.
Venice Beach is subject to erosion that threatens the amenities that provide safe and enjoyable public access to the coast. This section of the shoreline has been nourished several times over the past 80 years. But before the 2011 restoration effort, sand had not been placed on the beach since the 1970s. Each winter, temporary sand berms are constructed to protect beach amenities from coastal storm flooding.
During severe winter storms in 2004-2005, Venice Beach experienced significant erosion. The purpose of the project was to restore a 650 yard-long segment of the beach between the breakwater and the lifeguard headquarters. About 30,000 cubic yards of restored sand helped protect the recreational and lifeguard facilities from future storm wave damage and widened the beach, improving recreational benefits to beach goers.
In addition to the three categories, ASBPA also compiled votes by regional categories (with the three top winners excluded). Those results:
In addition, the ASBPA President singled out Panama City, Florida, for a special President’s Award, citing the strong community support (which placed them a very strong second in the Urban Beach category).
Isle of Palms, SC, Beach Restoration Project: The Isle of Palms is a non-federally funded beach restoration project completed in 2008 at a cost of $8.4 million; the people of the Isles of Palms community paid 84% of the project cost, while the county and state provided the balance of the funding. The project restored 10,200 linear feet of beach by placing more than 847,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach.
The project was implemented in response to severe erosion along a three-mile section of beach at the northeastern end of the island. Isle of Palms is a seven-mile-long, drumstick barrier island which experiences periodic shoal-bypassing events from Dewees Inlet. Shoal bypassing is an episodic process of sandbar migration from the inlet shoals to the beach. A severe storm in 2006 resulted in loss of hundreds of feet of beach along a densely developed segment of shoreline. Emergency sandbags were placed by private entities to protect nearly $1 billion worth of property.
The restoration plan built on studies of the island and Dewees Inlet and sought to incorporate beach nourishment and the ongoing effects of shoal bypassing. The project included a search for an offshore borrow area, confirmation of sediment quality, formulation of a nourishment plan for the three highest erosion areas, and all permitting. Construction included removal of sandbags in close coordination with fill placement so that upland properties remained protected. After the restoration project was completed, the average dry-beach width after nourishment was ~300 feet, which greatly exceeds the width of a typical South Carolina beach.
Menauhant Beach, Falmouth, MA, Beach and Dune Restoration Project: The Menauhant beach and dune restoration project was completed in the fall of 2008. Using sand derived from a federally funded and sponsored project to improve a nearby navigation channel, a municipal public beach restoration project was completed. The restoration reduced potential for barrier overwash and storm damage; improved and increased intertidal habitat; improved public access to the shores and waters of Vineyard Sound; and enhanced recreational use at the beach.
The project shows that with cooperation among local, state, and federal authorities, regional sediment management can provide a balanced and sustainable source of sediments for restoration projects.
More than 20,000 cubic yards of clean sand dredged during a federal project that created a better navigation channel into Great Harbor off Woods Hole, Mass. was used to restore approximately 1,900 linear feet of Menauhant Beach, which is about five miles away from the dredge site by sea. Once delivered to the beach site, the sand was used to substantially raise and broaden existing dunes and to construct new dunes in areas that were previously exposed to Vineyard Sound. Beach slopes were constructed to provide habitat for foraging shorebirds. Volunteers planted beach grass on all dune areas. Sand fencing was installed around the completed restoration to better control foot traffic and promote accretion of wind-blown material.
Presque Isle Peninsula, Erie, PA, Beach and Dune Restoration Project: The Presque Isle Peninsula is a 6.7-mile long, 3,200-acre spit forming one of the finest natural Great Lakes harbors which attracts international attention. To preserve the peninsula, Congress authorized in 1986 the construction of 58 offshore rubble-mound breakwaters and initial beach restoration. The breakwaters, constructed parallel to the shore, mimic nature and act as a barrier reef.
In 1989, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (working with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as the local sponsor) entered into a partnership to restore the fragile ecosystem and maintain the park. The restoration project has placed a total of 584,713 cubic yards of sand on the beach between 1993 to 2010, and has reinvigorated the fragile ecosystem that supports many endangered species.
The Presque Isle Peninsula beach system is an important recreational resource because it serves as a state park that attracts over 4 million visitors a year. Additionally, the peninsula is a valuable ecological resource as an ancient Lake Erie feature, and is a National Natural Landmark which presents five different series of primary plant successions from beach to forest. It also contains a greater number of endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania. In addition, the park has historic importance dating back to 1812. The Presque Isle restoration project is a prime example of how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania working together have preserved an important resource.
Miami Beach, FL; Miami–Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Surge Protection Project: The Miami Beach restoration project is a federally sponsored project with cost sharing for the initial and subsequent renourishment projects between federal, state, and local partners. The beach nourishment restored/constructed a 10.5-mile protective beach fill extending from Government Cut through Haulover Beach Park. The initial project was constructed from 1976 to 1981 at a cost of approximately $64 million and has revitalized the economy of the Miami Beach area. The restoration plan was developed to address severe beach erosion along the Miami-Dade County shoreline, and the associated economic and social impacts to the community. The project originally included a storm protection berm planted with native dune vegetation. In early 2000, the city initiated a $3 million dune restoration and enhancement program to remove exotic nuisance plant species; revegetate the dunes with native species; replace protective fencing adjacent to the dunes; and install protective signage.
The city of Miami Beach is an intensely developed urban environment. However, the city has been able to balance the needs for recreation and habitat through the restoration process. Miami Beach is the nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles, butterflies, and several dune unique vegetation species. The city realizes the protection and enhancement of natural resources is closely linked to preservation of its quality of life and the stability of its tourism based economy.
Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, CA, Beach Restoration Project: Moonlight Beach is a public/private partnership beach restoration project located a few blocks west of downtown Encinitas, a location that makes it the most heavily recreated beach within the city with an estimated 600,000 annual visitors. Moonlight Beach is the crown jewel of Encinitas due to free parking, easy accessibility, lifeguard services, volleyball courts, tot lot and fire rings. The Moonlight Beach restoration project was actually two “opportunistic” beach nourishment projects completed by the city of Encinitas. The beach restoration project used 6,000 cubic yards of sand from an upland development and from the routine dry weather maintenance of the city’s detention basins. The sand from these two projects was placed along an approximately 1,100‐foot-long and 50‐foot-wide segment of Moonlight Beach, and was delivered to the beach via truck for both projects. The material was placed on the beach as a low‐tide linear mound, which allowed the material to be reworked and redistributed by the daily tidal cycle. This was an important component of the project since the coloration of the upland material is typically different than that of the native beach.
The city was able to finance the project (which was done between March 2010 and March 2011) with public/private funds. The private developer agreed to pay the hauling cost while the city obtained the permits, testing and approvals. For the detention basin project, the city was able to reduce the cost of annual maintenance by hauling to a local beach vs. hauling to a landfill. The combination of forward thinking by the city and the cost-sharing between the public and private sectors has made this a unique project.
Corpus Christi Urban Waterfront Beach Projects, Texas: The Corpus Christi Urban Waterfront Beach Project consist of two projects: McGee Beach and Corpus Christi Beach. These urban beaches have been ranked among America’s top beaches; great sand, clear calm waters, and a diversity of events and attractions providing easy access to the public.
In 2004, the city of Corpus Christi partnered with the Texas General Land Office (TGLO) and Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program to nourish McGee Beach. The $640,000 project consisted of 56,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand; a 1,800-foot-long section of beach was widened to approximately 250 feet. Five 300-foot-long concrete sheet pile groins were installed to reduce sand losses and thus extend the intervals between renourishments.
In the late 1970s, construction of the initial Corpus Christi Beach restoration project was funded by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the city of Corpus Christi; the beach was renourished in 1998. In the summer of 2001, the city and TGLO co-sponsored a project to back-pass sand to re-nourish the beach section. Construction of the $1,456,000 nourishment project included placement of 125,000 cubic yards of imported sand and 25,000 cubic yards of back-passed sand for a total fill volume of 150,000 cubic yards over 3,000 linear feet of beach.
Navarre Beach, Florida: A non-federal beach restoration project at Navarre Beach in Santa Rosa County was designed to restore a critical protective buffer to the upland along approximately 4 miles of Gulf shoreline repeatedly damaged by multiple storms. The project was also designed to re-establish important recreational and economic benefits for the area, including 0.7 miles of beach and dune at the Navarre Beach State Park Recreation Area.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems co-sponsored the project with Santa Rosa County. Leaseholders and Santa Rosa County raised the local cost-share through the establishment of a Municipal Service Benefit Unit on the barrier island.
Perhaps one key success factor can be found simply in the ultimate acceptance of the completed project by the stakeholders, including a few who were vocal opponents in the initial planning stages. Once sand began to expand the storm-damaged beach and residents saw the Gulf being “pushed” away from their properties, evacuation routes and other public infrastructure, the majority of vocal opponents began to slowly move from criticism to appreciative acceptance of the project.
Seahurst Park – Burien, Washington: The Seahurst Park Project is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-funded effort through a Project Partnership Agreement with the City of Burien. Seahurst Park’s South Shoreline restoration project has reinvigorated a park and a fragile ecosystem. The design has restored the physical connection between the natural beach and its sediment supply.
The restored beach supports federally listed threatened and endangered species such as Chinook salmon. Residents of Burien and other communities throughout the region visit Seahurst Park to learn about the environment and enjoy the park’s shorelines. The Corps’ Seattle District has completed a general investigation and feasibility study for Puget Sound restoration.
The project was the first one funded by the Corps’ “Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters” program and has effectively served as a prototype project for addressing many Puget Sound ecosystem restoration issues, including bulkheading and sediment supply.
Seal Beach, California: The Seal Beach project involved nourishing a popular but eroding beach east of its pier using 74,000 cubic yards of offshore dredged material. This beach provides a resource to millions of people in a high-density population area on the border of Orange/Los Angeles counties. The Seal Beach project was funded by the City of Seal Beach to the tune of approximately $1,182,000. This investment in their coastal resource allows the City the flexibility to better manage the sand within their compartmentalized shoreline over time, improve the users’ experience, and enhance shorefront protection.
For the Seal Beach project, a high level of cooperation between local, state and federal governments allowed an unconventional contracting process to succeed within a tight timeframe and budget. Dredging was conducted as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Stage 12 Surfside/Sunset project. A Federal and State funded project, the Surfside/Sunset project has significant historical importance in that it is the state’s first U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ beach nourishment project and began almost 50 years ago. As the State of California continues to aggressively promote beach nourishment projects, such cooperation between agencies may become a model for future efforts.
Bellingham, Wash.: The Bellingham project generated significant public interest in beach restoration. The project started in September 2004, with a beach cleanup effort to remove wood piles, rebar and asphalt paths. The newly completed Marine Park Shoreline Restoration Project provides safe water access and features lush landscaping, new benches and a renovated picnic shelter. The project also includes rock structures to keep the new sand and cobble in place; and environmentalists enhanced the fish habitat that connects the salt marsh and eelgrass habitat systems.
Duval County, Fla.: The Duval County Shore Protection Project is a federally authorized project along 10 miles of the Atlantic coast near Jacksonville, Florida. It extends from the St. Johns River jetties to the St. Johns County line and is a section of shoreline that was heavily damaged by numerous severe storms in the 1960s, including Hurricane Dora. Beach restoration reestablished a wide, stable sandy beach that provides storm protection benefits, environmental enhancement and increased recreational opportunities for the residents of Jacksonville and northeast Florida and tourists from around the world. The project is part of a long-term project initially constructed in 1980 and is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Jacksonville.
Encinitas, Calif.: The Encinitas-Pacific Station Project is the first “opportunistic use” project in Encinitas and was made possible through a public-private partnership. The goal was to place suitable beach-quality sand from a local development project (Pacific Station) on one of the city’s most popular beaches to provide recreational enhancement and storm protection benefits. The city and the developer worked cooperatively and with a variety of local, regional, state and federal regulatory agencies. One of the key features is this project added a new source of sand into a sand-starved beach system. As the sand drifts south, it will protect beaches and coastal properties and provide increased recreational benefits for many miles down the coast.
Fire Island, N.Y.: This project is a highly successful beach renourishment project built between January and April 2009. It is the culmination of 16 years of individual effort among 11 communities leading to the largest and first joint project on the Fire Island barrier island along the south shore of Long Island. The project demonstrates how periodic renourishment aids in sustaining greater storm protection and recreational enhancement, instead of waiting until erosion has reached a critical point before action is taken. The project also restored the protective beach and dunes of one critically eroded community, and will aid in preserving the shoreline for future visitors to Fire Island.
Lido Key, Sarasota, Fla.: The Lido Key is located within the city of Sarasota, on the west coast of Florida. The bright white beach of Lido Key is vital to both the local and state tourism-driven economies and is a major recreational asset for residents. In addition to year-round recreational use, the beach is also important in providing coastal storm protection. The beach renourishment project concluded in April 2009 with the placement of over 600,000 tons of white sand. The project restored the beach of Lido Key to the condition it was in prior to the devastating hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, and now provides vital storm protection for a hurricane evacuation route, major residential buildings and recreational areas, as well as restoration of the beach’s sea turtle nesting and shorebird habitats.
South Padre Island, Texas: South Padre Island is on a barrier island off the southern tip of Texas. The town’s commitment to preserve and restore local beaches, maintain the quality of life and sustain the local tourism-based economy was the driving force for the beach restoration project. In 2008, Hurricanes Dolly and Ike each caused severe damage to the town’s beaches, including the back beach sand dunes. The project was designed to work with nature to enhance local coastal resources while restoring coastal habitat. The project was successfully completed in early 2009 and has produced clean, wide beaches that are open to the public.
St. Joseph Peninsula (Cape San Blas), Fla.: The St. Joseph Peninsula Beach Restoration Project is located along the western portion of Gulf County, Fla. More than 250,000 people visit St. Joseph Peninsula each year and provide substantial economic benefits to the local economy. A key component of the project’s success was the support of the local community, who donated time and resources to make this project a reality. The project included beach restoration along 7.5 miles of coastline, including areas with critically eroded beaches. The project’s success is based on excellent sand quality and design, resulting in an enhanced recreational beach, increased storm protection and an extended habitat for marine life.
Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, HI: Waikiki is Honolulu’s ocean recreation playground, a small but thriving tourist town that contains Hawaii’s busiest beach. Waikiki brings in over 46 percent ($3.6 billion) of the state’s economic contribution from tourism. This project had the benefit of encouraging the state of Hawaii to plan a larger restoration nearby, as well as emphasizing the merits of beach restoration to numerous Waikiki resorts.
North Boca Raton, FL: This project is characterized by its longevity, environmental sensitivity and foresight. In the 1970s, the city acquired three large beachfront properties to convert into public parks. In today’s dollars, the parks are worth over $330 million, making these parks the city’s most valuable asset. North Boca is a model beach project because most residents and visitors do not realize that it is a restored beach.
Ocean Isle Beach, NC: Thanks to high-quality sand from the inlet, the project outperformed expectations by extending the planned three-year renourishment interval to five years. Sand captured in the inlet borrow area is used for periodic renourishment; this provides a renewable sand source for the project while maintaining a navigable inlet channel.
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA: Seattle’s downtown waterfront, which hasn’t had any beaches for more than a century, has been given a gift in seeing firsthand the value of a beach in the midst of its busiest, most densely populated neighborhood. Millions of residents and visitors are being inspired to re-think the importance of beaches along their own downtown waterfronts.
South Walton & Destin Beaches overcame significant obstacles to restore their beaches after a series of storms, beginning when Hurricane Opal in 1995, caused devastating erosion of the area’s beaches and dunes. After seven years of project planning, the communities worked together to restore the beaches in 2007 while paying special attention to area wildlife, including the Gulf sturgeon, a threatened species of fish, whose critical habitat lies within the project area.
Venice Beach, FL: Severe erosion had exposed public and private property to storm damage, reduced turtle nesting habitat, and weakened the tourism potential of Venice Beach in the early 1990’s. The restored beach performed so favorably that in 2005, when renourishment was scheduled, only 33 percent of the sand had eroded. The restored beach offers recreational amenities such as myriad beach uses, snorkeling at the artificial reef sites, and searching for prehistoric sharks’ teeth, for which Venice is famous.
Collier County, FL, Beach Nourishment Program: This project combines innovative design, extensive sand searches, sophisticated environmental datsa-gathering and monitoring, and careful operational strategies to produce a high-quality, durable beach with minimal social and environmental impacts. The excellent sand chosen for the project, the advanced extraction and placement methods, and the design of the profile has resulted both in better project performance and fewer environmental impacts. For unavoidable impacts, mitigation in the form of limestone boulders was installed as compensation, providing a thriving hardbottom habitat. Sea turtles were protected by trawling and beach monitoring, and intensive nearshore monitoring of hardbottoms ensured that these rare and newly discovered resources were accounted for. This project also involved outstanding intergovernmental coordination with respect to hurricane and storm damage rehabilitation. This program has all the ingredients necessary to successful beach management.
Surfside-Sunset Beach, CA, Beach Nourishment Project: Since 1964, this beach restoration and nourishment program has placed nearly 16.5 million cubic yards of sand onto the beach at Surfside and Sunset Beach CA. These nourishments have acted as a “feeder beach”, effectively maintaining about 17 miles of the previously sand-starved littoral cell between Seal Beach and Newport Pier. An early precursor to the Regional Sediment Management concept, this program is undertaken as a partnership among the Army Corps of Engineers, the State of California’s Department of Boating and Waterways, Orange County, the City of Newport Beach, the City of Huntington Beach, and the Surfside Stormwater Special District. Conceived to mitigate erosion caused by the construction of the Ports of Los Angeles / Long Beach Breakwater, the Anaheim Bay Breakwater and reduced natural sediment delivery from the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Santa Ana Rivers, this project retains within the littoral cell 75-80% of the sediment dredged from the borrow sites since the 1960’s. This project is a shining example of persistence, cooperation, and superior engineering.
West Hampton Dunes, NY, Beach Restoration Project: West Hampton Dunes represents a blueprint for coastal hazard management and habitat enrichment.
At one time, West Hampton Dunes was the poster child of what could go wrong with a project, but today it is a lesson in successful partnership and coastal management. The shoreline of what is now the Incorporated Village of West Hampton Dunes had experienced increased erosion since the construction of a groin field to the east of the Village boundary. The erosion eventually led to extensive overwash and a breach in the barrier island in during a storm in1992, causing the loss of many dwellings and private property. The lack of governmental response to the crisis led to legal action by the residents against the Federal, State and local governments and to a stipulated settlement that allowed redevelopment of the Village, improved public access, endangered habitat enrichment and vital coastal flood and erosion protection. Currently, coordination among US Army Corps of Engineers, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Village of West Hampton Dunes has produced a superior beach for both people and wildlife.
Norfolk, VA, East Beach Restoration Project: The City of Norfolk’s commitment to East Beach has culminated in a nationally recognized redevelopment site. The elements of state-of-the-art shoreline protection with multiple breakwaters, beach restoration, dune creation and vegetation, and revitalization of a blighted community are successfully captured in this effort. Adjacent to a shoreline distressed because of updrift interruptions of littoral drift, the East Beach section of Norfolk had deteriorated into what was essentially a slum. Through persistent coordination among the City of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia, The Virginia Port Authority, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the neighborhoods of East Beach, Bay Breeze Point, and Bay Oaks, the beach was restored with dredged channel material, a series of breakwaters were constructed, and the East Beach section has been transformed into a vibrant and sustainable “living community” which is safe and walkable, and which was named the 2006 Community of the Year by the local Tidewater Builders Association. Clearly, the success of East Beach has gone far beyond just the renourishment of a section of shoreline; it includes the comprehensive redevelopment of a once-blighted community – a “place” where one can live, work and play. This project is living proof that the benefits of beach and shoreline restoration often extend beyond the simple protection of upland property and provision of recreational opportunities.
Chaland, LA, Headland Restoration Project: Traditionally, the benefits accruing to restored beaches are recognized as storm damage reduction to upland development and as recreational revenue production. The Chaland Headland Restoration Project does neither; rather, this innovative and precedent-setting project was constructed solely to restore and protect environmental resources (coastal marshlands) and to reduce continued degradation of the marshes from natural and anthropogenic causes. Located 50 miles south of New Orleans, the project produced a 3-mile beach with approximately 1.8 million cubic yards of sand fill and, with another nearly 1 million cubic yards of material, created new marshlands from open water. An early critical component of Louisiana’s coastal recovery, the Chaland Headland Restoration is literally the first line of defense for the interior marshes of Barataria Bay, which serve as important fishery and rookery habitats. These marshes also reduce hurricane strength and storm surge before they impact New Orleans. This project is a wonderful example of innovative adaptation of beach restoration principles for environmental protection, restoration, and enhancement.
Perdido Pass, AL, Regional Sediment Management Initiative: Healthy beaches are more than a recreational attraction when considered on a regional scale. The improved management of Perdido Pass and adjacent beaches is an effective implementation of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Regional Sediment Management (RSM) program in that it has improved sand bypassing efficiency and enabled the dredged material to remain in the littoral system. Decades of Perdido Pass maintenance dredging had been conducted using the least-cost disposal method: offshore disposal (and wastage) of over 6 million cubic yards of beach-quality sand. The success of the Perdido Pass RSM program has helped change the paradigm of dredged material disposal. Importantly, the cumulative impacts of the regional management approach are now considered to be cost-beneficial, e.g. with optimized sediment management comes fewer occurrences of sediment returning to the inlet, thus reducing future maintenance efforts and costs. The project has resulted in improved navigability at Perdido Pass and has provided wider beaches in the region, enhancing storm protection, recreational opportunities, and habitat for endangered sea turtles, beach mice, various shore birds, and other beach dwelling organisms. Managing the sand resources in this manner encourages natural beach maintenance and promotes the kind of multi-agency partnerships which are integral to the regional sediment management principles adopted by the Corps of Engineers.
Folly Beach, SC Renourishment Project: The City of Folly Beach, SC, is a small barrier island community located 12 miles south of the historic City of Charleston, South Carolina and is visited by 650,000 people annually. Folly Beach is one of the most publicly accessible beaches in the Southeast, and the “Washout’ at Folly Beach is one of the most popular surfing areas in South Carolina. The City’s beaches were devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and a federal project was authorized in 1992. The initial restoration of Folly Beach was conducted by the Charleston District of the Army Corps of Engineers in 1993 with 2.8 million cubic yards over about 28,000 feet of beach. Scheduled for nourishment in 2006, the hurricanes of 2004 resulted in an accelerated nourishment schedule. The nourishment was implemented in 2005 with 2.3 million cubic yards of sand along the project beach. The success of this project is reflected in the amenities and attractions protected and enhanced by the healthy beach. The western end of Folly Island is occupied with the Folly Beach County Park. The eastern end of the island is occupied by a former US Coast Guard LORAN Station that is now owned by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. Off the eastern end of Folly Island is Morris Island Lighthouse, a historic landmark constructed in the 1870’s. Environmentally, Folly Beach provides nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles (as well as an occasional leatherback), and is home to a number of species of shorebirds. Folly Beach provides a resource which is valued by people nationwide and by endangered and threatened wildlife. This project is a textbook example of the why the federal government needs to remain involved with shore protection and beach nourishment.
Assateague Island’s beach restoration project is saving one of America’s great undeveloped barrier islands. Assateague’s North End Restoration Project began in 2002 with almost 2 million cubic yards of sand spread along six miles of the north end of Assateague Island (just south of the renowned resort town of Ocean City) and has been supplemented with four smaller placements of sand since then. The goal is to replicate the natural feeding of sand to the island from the north, which has been blocked by the Ocean City jetties since the 1930s. The Assateague National Seashore (part of the National Park Service) manages the beach.
Captiva Island’s beach nourishment program has successfully protected island beaches for decades. A 2005 renourishment is just the most recent phase of a 45-year program to maintain the island’s beaches. Last year, more than a million cubic yards of sand was placed along the entire length of the island in coordination with projects on Sanibel Island to the south and both adjacent inlets. Captiva has a broad-based coalition of federal, state and local partners including a half-dozen funding sources who have contributed to the restoration cost. The Captiva Erosion Prevention District manages the beach.
The brilliant white sands placed on the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach beaches match the native sands almost perfectly. This beach restoration along the eastern entrance to Mobile Bay began with 1.6 million cubic yards of sand along three miles of Gulf Shores in 2001. Because of that success in restoring the recreational beach width and protecting property from recent hurricanes, the 2005 phase added another 7 million cubic yards along 16 miles of Gulf Shores, the Gulf State Park, and Orange Beach. This beach restoration is paid almost entirely with local funding from the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
The Treasure Island/Long Key federal nourishment project in Pinellas County on Florida’s west coast has been aided by a history of unity among numerous government agencies that agreed to protect and enhance the environmental, cultural and public resources in this region. These partnerships were most obvious during the remarkable 2004 nourishment project constructed during Florida’s most destructive hurricane season in history. This exceptional effort has maintained stunning white-sand beaches in southern Pinellas County for decades. The millions of tourists who visit these beaches every year are testament to its success.
Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches provide recreational and storm damage reduction benefits for almost 2.5 miles of coastline just south of Delaware Bay. Some 1.7 million cubic yards of sand were used to create a 125-150 foot wide protective beach, backed by 25-foot-wide vegetated dunes elevated six feet above the main beach area. Dune habitat was re-established along the shoreline through active planting and sand fencing. The project also created 45 pedestrian dune crossovers, two handicapped-access dune crossings and two vehicular dune crossings — integrating habitat development and habitat protection, as well as access and recreational amenities, into the project.
The Sea Bright to Manasquan Inlet project has succeeded beyond the designers’ expectations of a six-year renourishment cycle. The project has enhanced economic, recreational and environmental opportunities to the area, and has also reduced storm damage for more than 10 years. Located in a suburban and urban environment along the northern New Jersey coast, it is the largest restored beach in the United States and will be the site of the ASBPA’s 2006 fall conference next October.
Pacifica State Beach: The committee’s top recommendation, Pacifica State Beach is an example of a well-planned, well-executed coastal project that is the product of cooperative efforts of the local community, state and federal agencies, scientists, engineers and citizens. The complex beach and habitat restoration project involved of over 10 regulatory and permitting agencies, funding from eight granting agencies and the active design participation from eight environmental groups. It is one of the first beaches to utilize managed retreat as a method of shoreline protection. In addition to beach nourishment, it has restored habitat for four threatened and endangered species and enhanced community access with expanded parking lots, trails and new restrooms. Over 1 million people visit this beach annually.
Cape May Inlet to Lower Township: Updrift accretion and downdrift erosion at Cape May Inlet, constructed in 1911, has left downdrift communities and the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center with little or no beach. A federal beach nourishment project sponsored by the USCG, the city of Cape May, the state of New Jersey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized in 1991. Storm water outfalls were extended, dune systems established, and two groins were reconstructed. Since the first placement of 1.365 million cubic yards of sand, the project has been renourished seven times averaging 240,000 cubic yards of sand per year. Most of the sand is placed in the USCG Training Center area where it functions as a feeder beach for the rest of the project. The USACE’s Regional Sediment Management Demonstration Program includes monitoring of the project in order to develop and update the concept of sand bypassing and alternate borrow sources for this area.
Indian River County: Less than a mile south of Sebastian Inlet, the Indian River County Sectors 1 and 2 Project Area lies within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, home to the highest density sea turtle nesting sites in the Western hemisphere. While the project provided storm protection and economic benefit through enhanced recreational opportunities, planning and sensitivity to environmental issues resulted in a turtle friendly beach. Monitoring showed that turtle hatching success increased after the project was completed. Further, hatching success was higher on the renourished beach than on adjacent control beaches. In Florida’s historic 2004 hurricane season, this area survived direct hits by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, faring far better than many other areas of Indian River County that experienced significant wave damage to the dune field and upland structures.
Town of South Padre Island Beaches: This project is the result of 15 years of planning and inter-governmental coordination. From 1997 to 2005, the town of South Padre Island, the USACE, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Department of Transportation placed approximately 2.103 million cubic yards of sand on the South Padre Island Beaches, at a cost of $12 million. Sand sources include the bi-annual dredging of the Brazos Santiago Pass (Brownsville Ship Channel) and more recently the trucking of sand that had blown into TxDOT right of way. The town provides free public access to the beach averaging one every quarter-mile, many through naturally vegetated sand dunes.