FORT MYERS, FL –The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) announced today that Ocean Isle Beach is a winner of its 2008 Best Restored Beach Award.
“ASBPA created the Best Restored Beach award in 2001 as a way of highlighting the value of America’s restored beaches,” said Harry Simmons, mayor of Caswell Beach, N.C., and ASBPA president. “As Americans flock to our coastline during the upcoming beach season, most don’t even realize they may be enjoying a restored beach.”
Ocean Isle Beach’s quest for a federal beach restoration program began after Hurricane Hugo devastated the area in 1989. The Town lobbied members of Congress for federal funding and opened a capital reserve savings account to provide the local share of funding necessary for the restoration.
Coastal engineers began this project in 2001 with sand dredged from Shallotte Inlet, located on the east end of the island. The inlet provided high-quality sand for the beach, which enabled the planned three-year renourishment interval to be extended to five years – a major benefit. Additionally, it created a deeper channel for boaters.
“The Ocean Isle project is an excellent example of regional sand management in an area that has limited offshore sand reserves,” said Mayor Debbie Smith. “Since its inception, the Ocean Isle Beach restoration project has been distinguished by exceptional project performance and habitat restoration for endangered sea turtles and shorebirds. In addition it has provided storm protection and greatly increased recreational space. This project has been such a huge success and provided such great benefit that we continue to set aside funding annually in a capital reserve account to perform maintenance when needed.”
Coastal communities nominated their restoration 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.
Other beaches honored this year include: the beaches of North Boca Raton, Fla.; Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, Wash.; Destin & Walton County, Fla.; Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, Hawaii; and Venice Beach, Fla.
Past award winners include: Panama City Beach, Fla., in 2002; San Diego Beach in 2003; Ocean City, Md., in 2004; the beaches of South Padre Island, Texas, in 2005; Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches in Delaware in 2006; and the Chaland Headland Restoration Project in Louisiana in 2007.