Phipps Ocean Park wins beach restora­tion award

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By ALEESE KOPF

Palm Beach has one of the best re­stored beaches in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional coastal preser­va­tion as­so­ci­a­tion.

The Amer­i­can Shore & Beach Preser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounced last week that Phipps Ocean Park is one of five lo­ca­tions on its an­nual list of the na­tion’s best re­stored beaches.

Last win­ter and spring, the town spent $16.5 mil­lion to have Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. place just over 1 mil­lion cu­bic yards of sand on a 2-mile stretch of South End beaches and dunes from Phipps to Palm Beach County’s Kreusler Park. As part of the project, work­ers also added about 10,000 cu­bic yards of sand to Reach 8 beaches south of Bel­laria Con­do­minium and about 15,000 cu­bic yards to the Reach 3 shore­line north of The Break­ers.

Mayor Gail Coniglio called the award a “great honor” and held a news con­fer­ence Fri­day to cel­e­brate the recog­ni­tion. Fri­day’s event in­cluded a trip to the beach.

“From our cit­i­zens, to the stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the reg­u­la­tory agen­cies, con­sul­tants, con­trac­tors and our staff, truly this award can be at­trib­uted to see­ing what can be ac­com­plished when we all work well to­gether,” Coniglio said in a state­ment.

The Fort My­ers-based as­so­ci­a­tion chooses beaches for the award based on the eco­nomic and eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits they bring to the com­mu­nity; the short- and long-term suc­cess of the project; and the chal­lenges each com­mu­nity over­came dur­ing the project.

“This year’s win­ners spot­light a di­verse se­lec­tion of beaches and chal­lenges, rang­ing from pro­tect­ing coastal marshes in a wildlife refuge to pro­tect­ing up­land prop­er­ties in one of Amer­ica’s most exclusive lo­cales,” read the an­nounce­ment, re­fer­ring to Palm Beach. “What they all have in com­mon, how­ever, is work­ing cre­atively to ad­dress com­plex coastal is­sues in way that is sus­tain­able to the rav­ages of na­ture, com­pat­i­ble with the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment and achiev­able in the face of both po­lit­i­cal and nat­u­ral ob­sta­cles.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion also rec­og­nizes re­stored beaches for their value to the econ­omy.

Amer­ica’s beaches re­ceive more than 2 bil­lion vis­its a year and con­trib­ute about $225 bil­lion an­nu­ally to the econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion. Re­stored beaches also help with storm pro­tec­tion and habi­tat restora­tion.

Other win­ners were: Dauphin Is­land, Ala.; Pop­pones­set Spit, Mass.; Prime Hook Beach, Del.; and Sand­bridge Beach, Vir­ginia Beach, Va.

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