With future beach visits in mind, 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 northeast, mid-Atlantic, south Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts.
The 2020 winners are:
Cardiff State Beach, California
South Benson Marina/Jennings Beach, Connecticut
Keansburg, New Jersey
Norriego Point, Florida
Tybee Island, Georgia
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. Polls show that beach erosion is the number one concern beach tourists have about beaches.
In order to highlight and document beach re-nourishment efforts across the US,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.aptim.com/ASBPANationwideRenourishment
Why should you plan a post-pandemic visit to 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.
“As summer 2020 approaches, 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 benefits of healthy coasts are many:
1. Storm protection – A wide sandy beach helps separate storm waves and other coastal hazards from upland structures and infrastructure.
2. Habitat restoration – Numerous species rely on wide, healthy beaches as a place to live, feed, rest and nest.
3. Recreation — America’s beaches are its largest national park, more than 40% higher than more than the numbers of visitors to all our federal and state parks and theme parks combined.
4. Adaptation — As climate changes trigger both higher sea levels and stronger storm events, a wide sandy beach remains the best protection from both encroaching seas and storm-driven waves. By adjusting their shoreline designs, communities across the country are able to protect upland habitat and properties by raising the profile of their beaches to counter projected sea level rise.
5. Spend millions to save billions – Investing in infrastructure now saves money in re-building later.
6. 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:
Beach tourism is responsible for 2.5 million jobs nationwide.
Beaches help generate $225 billion a year for the national economy, contributing about $25 billion in federal tax revenue.
Beach tourism generated $45 billion annually in taxes and returns $570 in federal taxes for each federal dollar spent.
Beaches are the leading U.S. tourist destination for both national and international tourists.
Well over half of the nation’s gross domestic product ($7.9 trillion) is generated in 673 counties along the oceans, Gulf and Great Lakes, according to NOAA’s National Ocean Economics Program.
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:
The economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community;
The short- and long-term success of the restoration project; and
The challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.
According to Peter Seidle, co-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. The committee also looks for unique solutions to unique problems, recognizing that every beach has its own challenges and opportunities that can be addressed and augmented by a well-executed restoration project.”
This year’s winners spotlight a diverse selection of beaches: nature based solutions, revitalization of an area, increased diverse recreational opportunities, beneficial use and traditional beach restoration. What they all have in common, however, is working creatively to address complex coastal issues in way that is sustainable and that mitigates the ravages of nature, that is compatible with the surrounding environment and that is achievable in the face of both political and natural obstacles.
Tybee Island Made It Into This Year’s Best Restored Beaches:
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.