An aerial view of Cooks Beach in Cape May County, NJ with near shore engineered oyster reefs designed to help maintain and protect the restored beach from storm surge and waves.
An American Littoral Society restoration project has been honored by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) as one of the Best Restored Shores in the United States.
The work at Cooks Beach in Cape May County, NJ is one of three projects highlighted as part of ASBPA's second annual Best Restored Shores awards. The program recognizes projects that apply natural and nature-based solutions to enhance the nation's shorelines.
"We're certainly proud to be honored by the ASBPA for our work, which involves countless local volunteers, as well as the involvement of state and federal partners and funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation," said Capt. Al Modjeski, Restoration Program director for the American Littoral Society. "But equally important is that the project has paid off for the spawning horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds who need these Delaware Bay beaches to maintain their natural lives."
Partners on the Cooks Beach project include: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Stockton University, NJDEP, Atlantic Capes Fisheries, and Wildlife Restoration Partnership LLC.
According to the ASBPA, 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.
“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.
The 2020 Best Restored Shore winners are:
With the Cooks Beach project the American Littoral Society 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, according to the ASBPA.
Monitoring by the Littoral Society and partners 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.
All three winners will be honored and projects presented at the virtual 2020 ASBPA National Coastal Conference in October.
The ASBPA is a 501(c)3 nonrofit that was founded in 1926.The organization 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.