2022 America’s Best Restored Beaches

American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) recently released their much-anticipated annual list of the nation’s best restored beaches.

The award winning projects this year are Duxbury Beach Dune Restoration Project, MA; Ocean Isle Beach Shoreline Protection Project, NC; Sodus Point Beach Project, NY; and Waikiki Beach Maintenance Project, HI.

ASBPA’s Best Restored Beach award is all about: increasing beach resiliency by improving the beach’s ability to mitigate storm damage and flooding from severe storm and chronic erosion, while restoring an important part of the nearshore ecosystem.

Projects are judged on three criteria of the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community; short and long term success of the restoration project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.

The Duxbury Beach Dune Restoration Project in Massachusetts was selected as a Best Restored Beach due to its incorporation of resiliency, ecological, and recreational benefits. The project restored one of the narrowest and at-risk sections of the barrier beach system, improving the resilience of 15 miles of highly developed shoreline as well as continued access to the site for recreationalists, landowners, and emergency personnel. The project also provided nesting habitat for the state and federally listed piping plovers and state listed least tern that nest on Duxbury Beach.

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina has recognized the value of restoring and protecting their beaches since the creation of a dedicated local funding source in 1989. The town determined that the construction of a terminal groin located just east of the easternmost development on the island could serve as a feasible solution for chronic erosion leading to the Ocean Isle Beach Shoreline Protection Project. The project involved two major components, the construction of the terminal groin structure, and pre-filling the groin area placing sand along a 3,000 ft stretch of shoreline. In concert with the fifth nourishment of the original project, the groin was constructed in 2021 and has successfully mitigated the chronic erosion on the east end of the project.

Sodus Point Beach on Lake Ontario in the Village of Sodus Point, New York is a man-made beach created by accretion of land after the construction of federal piers to stabilize the entrance to Great Sodus Bay in 1833. Over the years, the beach continued to receive natural sources of sand; however, sand was not retained on the beach but drifted against upland residences where it was removed as a nuisance. The project focused on measures to capture wind-blown sand to harness natural means to reach flood protection goals and widen the beach at a county-owned park.

Waikiki Beach is one of the most internationally recognized beaches in the world, renowned for its recreational beach activities. It has been estimated that Waikiki Beach accounts for $2 billion in annual income for the local economy. The Waikiki Beach Maintenance Project is located along the shoreline of Mamala Bay on the south shore of Oahu, Hawaii and is locally referred to as Royal Hawaiian Beach. The construction was completed in May, 2021 placing 21,700 cubic yards of sand roughly doubling the beach width and was funded through a public/private partnership with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii.

Photo: Ocean Isle Beach/CPE