By The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association
At the recent ASBPA Coastal Summit, Tom Campbell, P.E. of CBI/Coastal Planning and Engineering, gave a presentation entitled, “Performance of U.S. Restored Beaches during Major Storms and Hurricane Sandy Introduction” – which includes a number of facts about beach restoration in this country about which that many in the audience (and, likely, many of you readers) were not aware.
Test your knowledge about some history of coastal management:
1. The first large-scale beach nourishment project in the United States was first constructed in:
The answer is A. It was initially nourished with 2.5 million cubic yards of sand, and was renourished in 1941, 1961 and 1995.
2. The first large-scale beach nourishment project constructed in the United States was on/in:
A. Miami Beach, Fla.
B. Coney Island, N.Y.
C. Imperial Beach, Calif.
D. Ocean City, Md.
The answer is B: Coney Island. Large-scale beach nourishment projects have also been constructed on Miami Beach, Imperial Beach and Ocean City – but Coney Island was the first. Its proximity to New York City made it a major recreational destination for city residents drawn by the array of amusements, ease of access – and, of course, those wide sandy beaches.
3. How many beach nourishment projects have been constructed in the United States?
A. Approximately 500
B. Approximately 1,000
C. Approximately 2,000
D. More than 5,000
The answer is C. Nationwide, 2,293 projects have been constructed involving 1.5 billion cubic yards of sand. Beach nourishment is a tested and fine-tuned technology to bring sand back into the beaches and littoral systems that have been starved of sediment by inlets, structures or other coastal forces.
4. Which state has had the most beach nourishments?
A. New Jersey
C. North Carolina
The answer is D. California has had 41 percent of the beach nourishment projects nationwide, follow by Florida (19 percent), New Jersey (9 percent, New York (8 percent) and North Carolina (6 percent).
5. Which state had had the second most beach nourishment projects since 2004?
C. North Carolina
The answer is D: Louisiana. Subsidence (the gradual sinking of land due to groundwater or sediment loss) and storm damage are seriously threatening Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Beach nourishment projects protect those wetlands from deadly direct wave action, and help rebuild a protective barrier system that can protect coastal residents from a hurricane’s waves. (Of course, Florida had the most beach nourishments since 2004, thanks in no small part to the hyperactive hurricane season that year and later.)
Conclusion? America has been nourishing its beaches for 90 years now, with a collection of coastal success stories. With improved technology and an evolving understanding of beach processes, we’ve been able to protect America’s coastline and maintain wide healthy beaches in coastal communities around the country – sometimes so well that communities even forget their beach is doing well today thanks to nourishments in years past.
Founded in 1926, the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (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 www.asbpa.org, Facebook or www.twitter.com/asbpa.