ASBPA Announces the Nation’s Best Restored Beaches

Topsail Beach

With the beginning of the summer beach season a few days away, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) has just released its much-anticipated annual list of the nation’s best restored beaches.

This year’s list provides representation from the west, east, Great Lakesand the Gulf coasts.

The 2016 winners are:

  • Babe’s Beach, Galveston, TX;
  • Rosewood Beach, Highland Park, IL;
  • Seabrook Island, SC;
  • Topsail Beach, NC; and
  • Redondo Beach, CA.

According to ASBPA President Tony Pratt, “Coastal communities have restored more than 370 beaches in the United States, including such iconic beaches as Jones Beach in New York, Ocean City in Maryland, Virginia Beach, Miami Beach, South Padre Island, Texas, Santa Monica and Waikiki Beach.

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.

Here’s a brief overview of this year’s Best Restored Beaches:

Babe’s Beach, Galveston, TX

This project area – named in honor of a legendary figure in coastal Texas history, former State Senator A.R. “Babe” Schwartz – has been completely submerged since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The restoration project has provided (at a minimum) 34 additional acres of coastal beach and dune habitat.

The 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.

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.

North Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach, NC

This project has been an example of how an individual community can work with non-federal agencies to create new funding mechanisms. Funding was secured through the State of North Carolina’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund which had originally been a 50/50 cost share between the State and local governments.

The Onslow County/North Topsail Beach joint project consisted of performing channel maintenance dredging along approximately 10,600 linear feet (approximately two miles) of existing navigation channels.

Dredging was completed on Friday, April 22nd 2016, and the total sand volume removed from the navigation channels and placed onto the beach was approx 120,000 cubic yards.

Redondo Beach, CA

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’s north entrance and barged just offshore at Redondo Beach.

About 75,000 cubic yards of the sand sediment 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 for recreational activities to continue, but it provides protection from storm waves to public infrastructure and allows the economic vitality of the local area to thrive.