North Topsail Beach is making waves as a winner of the 2014 Best Restored Beach Award.
NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH — North Topsail Beach is making waves as a winner of the 2014 Best Restored Beach Award.
The award was announced Monday by The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association and comes after the town’s successful completion of the New River Inlet Channel Realignment project earlier this year. North Topsail Beach shared top honors with Aquia Landing County Park of Virgina; Cocoa Beach, Florida; and Iroquois Point Beach, Hawaii.
During Topsail’s two-month realignment project, approximately 566,244 cubic yards of sand were dredged from the New River Inlet, increasing the channel’s depth to 17 feet and width to 500 feet. With the removed sand, 1.5 miles of beach on the north end of Topsail Island was rebuilt.
North Topsail Beach funded 100-percent of the permitting and design as well as initial construction, receiving no matching funds from federal, state or county governments. Phase 1 of the project was completed by Marinex Construction at a cost of $5.6 million and was financed through the Town’s existing beach fund and special obligation bonds, according to previous reports from The Daily News.
North Topsail Beach Mayor Dan Tuman said the town’s restoration efforts will continue.
“The town is very pleased to receive the 2014 Best Restored Beach Award,” Tuman said. “However, our beach restoration efforts won’t stop. This is only phase one of a five-phase plan which will restore all 11.1 miles of the town’s shoreline. Later this year we are on track to restore 3.5 miles on the south side of town.”
Long-time North Topsail Beach resident Kathy Martin often spends time combing the beach for shells, rocks and other items of interest. After living for 11 years only a block away from the beach, Martin has developed a healthy respect for the ocean.
“People get concerned that we keep losing the beach, then they do some dredging of the sand and we get it back and so on and so forth,” Martin said. “We are a barrier island. I personally feel they should just keep the Intracoastal open for the shrimp boats and let things happen naturally. I enjoy living here, but I always said the ocean is going to take what it’s going to take. Until I am beachfront, I’m not going to worry about it.”
Other Topsail beach-goers, such as Liz Trubee of Ohio, only spend a few days a year oceanside. Though her stay may be brief, Trubee still has enough time to appreciate the beach’s simple beauty.
“We have found this beach to be absolutely fabulous,” Trubee said. “We really like it here. I’ve taken several walks up and down the beach and the sand has been really nice and soft on our feet. We have two little kids with us, 2 and 3 years old, and they’ve been having a really good time playing around.”
While this was Trubee’s first time at North Topsail Beach, her daughter-in-law, Lyndsey Roesch, has been visiting regularly since grade school. Roesch acknowledged the towns efforts to restore the beach, but also pointed out that some erosion is already visible.
“We have been down that way, towards the north end, and it seems to be a lot shorter out there,” Roesch said. “It’s just natural erosion. I come here every year and it seems like the width may be decreasing.”
To enter the Best Restored Beach competition, North Topsail Beach nominated their project for consideration before an independent panel of coastal managers and scientists. Judging was based on three criteria: the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community, the short and long-term success of the project and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project, according to the press release from North Topsail Beach.
More information about beach restoration and The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association may be found at asbpa.org.