Seabrook Island, SC  (May 23, 2016) – The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) announced today that Seabrook Island is a winner of its 2016 Best Restored Beach Award.

“ASBPA created the Best Restored Beach award as a way of highlighting the value of America’s restored beaches,” said Tony Pratt, ASBPA president and administrator of the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section within the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  “As Americans flock to our coastline during the upcoming beach season, most don’t even realize they may be enjoying a restored beach.”

The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association Beach Project “Relocation of Cap’n Sams Inlet”

Seabrook Island property owners and visitors love the beach for strolls, walking their dogs, and enjoying the surf.  In May 2015, for the third time in the past 30 years, Seabrook Island, in cooperation with federal, state, and local authorities and with Seabrook Island property owner funding, relocated Cap’n Sam’s Creek using scientific island inlet relocation methodology. 

According to Janet Gorski, President of the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA), “One year later, Seabrook Island has exceeded anticipated benefits of the inlet relocation.  Accretion of sand has not only widened the beach, but replenished sand dunes, not only providing greater habitat for the turtle nursery so important in South Carolina, but also strengthening protection of maritime forest in an era of increasingly higher tides.  In the aftermath of inlet relocation and in concert with Seabrook Island’s stewardship and monitoring of its beach environment, numerous shore birds, including several endangered species, are enjoying the enhanced beach habitat for migration and nesting.  As a testament to the interest in protecting shore bird natural habitat since inlet relocation, the Seabrook Island Birders group was formed in late 2015 and now has over 180 members.  In short, relocation of Cap’n Sam’s Creek has improved Seabrook Island’s beach environment for all users.”

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 Seabrook Island restoration project clearly demonstrates the importance of developing a long -term management plan that woks with the natural processes to overcome severe erosion,” said Weishar. “This project shows that a beach restoration project can be successful in a dynamic environment if you clearly understand the coastal processes and develop a plan that works with the coastal processes to achieve the restoration of the beach.”

For more than 50 years, beach restoration has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities on the east, west, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts. 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 federal and state parks combined. Every year, there are more than 2 billion visitors to America’s beaches.

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 in Texas, Venice Beach in California and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.

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:

•    Beaches contribute an estimated $225 billion annually to the America’s economy.

•    Each year, governments take in $570 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. 

Founded in 1926, the ASBPA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for healthy coastlines by promoting the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. This information is provided by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association.

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