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ASBPA Newsroom: Beach News



May 19, 2014

Ken or Kate Gooderham, ASBPA executive directors -- (239) 489-2616 or
Harry Simmons, ASBPA president -- (910) 200-7867 or 

Local contacts available for all winning beaches… contact us for info

Celebrate America’s beaches:

ASBPA releases its Best Restored Beaches for 2014

FORT MYERS, FL – From childhood building sandcastles to adolescent walks on the beach to adults enjoying family time, America’s beaches are synonymous with celebrating summer. With the beginning of the summer beach season a few days away, The 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 west, east and the Gulf coasts of the United States.

The 2014 winners are:

  • Aquia Landing County Park, Stafford County, VA;
  • Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, FL
  • Iroquois Point Beach, Oahu, HI
  • North Topsail Beach, NC

  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.

Why should you want to visit a restored beach? Here’s the top reason, according to ASBPA President Harry Simmons – fun. Many of America’s most heavily used beaches are restored beaches – wide and sandy, providing abundant recreational opportunities for beachgoers.

“As Americans flock to our nation’s coastline during the upcoming beach season, most don’t even realize they may be enjoying a restored beach,” said Simmons, who is mayor of Caswell Beach, NC. “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, Galveston Island in Texas and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.”

For the last 40 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 three main reasons for restoration are:

  • Storm protection – A wide sandy beach helps separate storm waves from upland structures and infrastructure.
  • Habitat restoration – Numerous species rely on wide, healthy beaches as a place to live, feed and nest.
  • Recreation – America’s beaches have twice as many visitors annually as all of America’s national parks combined. Every year, there are more than 2 billion visitors to America’s beaches. Beaches contribute an estimated $322 billion annually to the America’s economy. More importantly, for every dollar the federal government spends on beach nourishment, it gets an estimated $320 back in tax revenues.

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 an employment and tax generator:

  • More than twice as many people visit America’s coasts as visit our state and national parks—all of them combined.
  • Each year, governments take in $320 in taxes from beach tourists for every dollar it spends on beach restoration.
  • Well over half of the nation’s gross domestic product ($7.9 trillion) is generated in 673 counties along the oceans 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 Lee Weishar, Ph.D., chair of the Best Restored Beach Committee responsible for making the selections: “The Best Restored Beaches contest can be compared to an old-time beauty contest… if you like what you see, you vote for it. I look for commitment and dedication to the project. I want the applicant to make me love his or her beach.”

The following are summaries about this year’s Best Restored Beaches:

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 that it serves.

Said Weishar: “We chose Aquia because this project combined two important aspects of beach nourishment: They combined off shore breakwaters with beach nourishment to enhance and protect a barrier beach while at the same time providing an enhanced recreation beach that is heavily used.”

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.

Said Weishar: “Cocoa Beach caught our eye because it established wide dunes and beaches where in previous years erosion had completely eliminated the beaches and dunes. The new beach is absolutely fabulous. Additionally, many thousands of people using these beaches most likely have no clue that this is a restored beach. This will provide Brevard County a chance to educate the many lucky folks that get to use the beaches.”

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.
Said Weishar: “This is a project which overcame obstacles to get completed. It combined T-head groins and beach nourishment to re-establish a beach where previously there was only a very narrow beach. Let’s face it, who could not love a Hawaiian beach.”

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.
Said Weishar: “North Topsail Beach re-established a beach that was providing critical storm damage prevention to homes located on the beach, nourishing the beach while providing a wide recreational beach for the residents. We like this project because it provides sand to a starved system, provides storm damage protection – and it looks great.”

A complete list of award-winning beaches, and more information about beach restoration and ASBPA, is available online at

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ABOUT ASBPA: Founded in 1926, the ASBPA advocates for healthy coastlines by promoting the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. For more information on ASBPA, go to, Facebook or This information is provided by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. For information, to change your email address or to unsubscribe from this list, contact us at A complete collection of Beach News Services articles is available for media access online at