Best restored USA beaches

Posted on September 24, 2020

Managing a community’s coastline is more than a walk on the beach. It can mean maintaining vital wetland habitats, preparing for sea level impacts by developing innovative coastal buffers, or even reducing storm and flood impacts by recreating lost ecosystem services.

Such coastal projects are vital to America’s shoreline communities and deserve recognition for the many benefits and opportunities they offer.

That’s the motivation behind American Shore & Beach Preservation Association’s (ASBPA) second annual Best Restored Shores awards, which recognize projects that apply natural and nature-based solutions to enhance the nations shorelines.

The 2020 winners are:

  • Stratford Point Living Shoreline, CT
  • Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management, NJ
  • Restoration of Cooks Beach, NJ

“Continued public support for shore restoration is crucial to building coastal resiliency to storms and rising seas,” said ASBPA President Tony Pratt. “Successfully planning and implementing shoreline restoration projects can be challenging and too often their far-reaching economic benefits go unnoticed.”

“Outstanding restoration projects that restore natural resources and reduce the impacts of storms to recreational values and improve coastal resilience merit acknowledgment,” said Best Restored Shores Co-Chair Shannon Cunniff.

Here’s why these winning projects were deemed Best Restored Shores for 2020:

Stratford Point Living Shoreline, Connecticut

The Stratford Point Living Shoreline is an outstanding example of how to work with multiple partners and nature to solve some of our most difficult human-caused coastal degradation problems. This project clearly demonstrates the importance of shellfish reefs in the protection of newly restored saltmarsh and their role allowing time for marsh migration to occur as sea levels rise and storms increase. Especially noteworthy were its well-characterized objectives, long-term monitoring plan that demonstrated success, and the multiple funding partners involved in taking the project from concept to execution that achieved real environmental and coastal resilience outcomes.

Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management, New Jersey

The Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management (AM) project demonstrates an innovative approach for shoreline stability and passive nourishment. By working with natural processes (wave energy regime and nearshore currents), the shoreline may become more resilient, helping to ensure continued ecological function and ecosystem services. The project’s monitoring demonstrated a need for AM, and will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the AM. This project demonstrates a new tactic for bayshore communities and environmental entities to use for shoreline management.

Restoration of Cooks Beach, New Jersey

The Cooks Beach project creatively restored a shoreline so that it could continue to be a source of sand to other area beaches while retaining sufficient sediment to provide critical spawning habitat for horseshoe crabs and red knots, a federally-listed threatened migratory bird. Monitoring revealed that of all eight beaches recently restored in Delaware Bay, Cooks Beach is now most used by foraging shorebirds, including red knot, due in large part to the availability of horseshoe crab eggs in surrounding shoals and on its now-protected beach face.

Winners will be honored and projects presented at the virtual 2020 ASBPA National Coastal Conference in October.

ABOUT ASBPA: 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. 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


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