Brevard County North Reach Wins Restoration Award
By Space Coast Daily // July 30, 2014
2014 Best Restored Beach Award
ABOVE VIDEO: The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association awarded Brevard County’s North Reach with the Best Restored Beach Award.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) recognized Brevard County’s North Reach beach restoration as a winner of its 2014 Best Restored Beach Award.
Commissioner Chuck Nelson, whose district includes the City of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, said “With the success of the North Reach Project spanning from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral, we have successfully created a way to keep sand on the beach and continue to protect our homes, businesses and communities from the devastating effects of storms. The North Reach Project is a perfect example of a beach nourishment project that has proven its worth over and over again, sustaining our tourism, environment and driving our economy upward year after year.”
Brevard County’s North Reach restoration focused on 9.4 miles of shoreline, including Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Previous restoration efforts of the once highly eroded beach area exceeded expectations in the face of extraordinary storm events in 2004 and 2012 and helped turn 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.
“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.”
Recovery projects implemented in 2005 and 2014 have helped sustain the integrity of the project initially begun in the fall of 2000.
“Brevard Beach caught our eye because it established wide dunes and beaches where in previous years erosion had completely eliminated the beaches and dunes,” said Lee Weishar, chair of the Best Restored Beach Committee.
“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 a chance to educate the many lucky folks that get to use the beaches.”
The 2014 North Reach renourishment placed nearly 1 million cubic yards of sand at a cost of roughly $15 million, which was virtually 100 percent federally funded, though some state dollars and Brevard County bed tax revenues generated by overnight hotel stays were also used. Brevard County officials say the cost for renourishment is balanced by the $1.6 billion estimated economic impact to Brevard’s economy each year by beach-related tourism.
“Beach renourishment benefits tourists, residents, business owners, and the environment, I’m proud of the great job our Natural Resources Department has done to build a great relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Canaveral Port Authority in order to construct one of the best beach renourishment projects in the Country,” said Rob Varley, director of Brevard County’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.
“This is one of the top reasons the beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach are so popular with visitors.”
Brevard was among four winners recognized nationally by ASBPA. The others were Aquia Landing County Park in Stafford County, Va.; Iroquois Point Beach, Oahu, Hawaii; and North Topsail Beach, N.C.
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.
THREE MAIN REASON FOR RESTORATION
• 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.
Coastal communities have restored more than 370 beaches in the United State, including such iconic beaches as Cocoa Beach, Jones Beach in New York, Ocean City in Maryland, Virginia Beach, Miami Beach, Galveston Island in Texas and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.
“I have known for more than 20 years that Brevard’s Beach Program was the best in the world, now the rest of the world knows!” said Mary Bolin Lewis, chairman of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners.
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.