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2006 Top Restored Beaches announced, to be spotlighted in upcoming Chico’s catalog

Sun, fun . . . and fashion?

In May, beaches share the spotlight with the best in women’s fashion as Chico’s highlights one of this year’s Top Restored Beaches in its spring catalog.

This renowned women’s retailer, working in conjunction with the nation’s top advocate for beaches, picked captivating Captiva Island on the southwest coast of Florida as its fashion destination for the upcoming May catalog. Captiva is one of the 2006 Top Restored Beaches as designated by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).

In a unique collaboration Jim Frain, Chico’s chief marketing officer, participated in the selection process to determine the year’s Top Restored Beaches, which resulted in six beaches from around the country being singled out for successful efforts to restore the health, ecology and protective benefit of these coastlines.

Said Frain: “Chico’s belongs on the beach. Our first store, which is still open, is located on beautiful Sanibel Island. Many of our other stores are located in beach communities around the country.”

The May Chico’s catalog will be sent to 6 million households around the U.S. Chico’s sells exclusively designed private-label women’s clothing and related accessories.

A benefit for beaches

For more than 80 years, U.S. communities have been restoring their beaches. Every coastal state has a beach replenishment project; in all, more than 370 locations have been stored – including some of the best-known beaches in the country, such as Miami Beach and Coney Island, Ocean City and Waikiki.

Although some areas in the country are relatively new to the beach restoration process, others have a long history of successful replenishment projects. In many cases, the restoration is so well established that beach users are not even aware they are enjoying a restored beach!

In order to build awareness of and appreciation for the value and importance of America's restored beaches, the ASBPA established its Top Restored Beach Awards. Coastal communities are asked to nominate their restored beaches, and an independent panel reviews the selections based on its ecological and economic success, the short- and long-term performance of the restoration project and the unique challenges overcome in the course of completing the restoration project.

This year’s winners are:
• Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
• Captiva Island, Florida
• Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama
• Pinellas County Beaches, Florida
• Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches, Delaware
• Sea Bright to Manasquan Beach, New Jersey

Said ASBPA President Harry Simmons: “This year’s winning beaches again represent the breadth and benefit of beach restoration – as well as the unique nature of each beach project undertaken. These beaches are being brought back to health in ways that reflect the unique character and ecosystem of each one, as well as the unique challenges each one faces both from nature and from man.”

About the beaches

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, 2 handicapped-access dune crossings and 2 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.

Previous winners

Beaches who have previously been honored as one of the nation’s top restored beaches are:

2005: Pacifica State Beach, California; Cape May Inlet to Lower Township, New Jersey; Indian River County, Florida; South Padre Island, Texas.

2004: Long Beach, California; Sunrise Beach Park, Lake Bluff, Illinois; Bogue Banks, North Carolina; Ocean City, Maryland

2003: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) regional project, California.

2002: Caswell Beach, North Carolina; Delray Beach, Florida; Panama City Beach, Florida; Pompano Beach/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach, Florida; Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Founded in 1926, the ASBPA represents the scientific, technical and political interests along the coast in an effort to shape national research and policy concerning shore and beach management and restoration. The organization strives to engage a factual debate on coastal issues and economics that will foster sound, far-sighted and economical development and preservation of our shores and beaches; thereby aiding in placing their benefits within the reach of the largest possible number of people in accordance with the ideals of a democratic nation. For additional information, visit the organization’s Web site at www.asbpa.org.

Photos of all six beaches are available via e-mail. Send requests to exdir@asbpa.org.

If you have more specific questions concerning any of the 2006 Top Restored Beach projects mentioned, press contacts for all six beaches are available. Contact us at exdir@asbpa.org or (239) 489-2616 for further information.