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State of Florida
American Shore and Beach Preservation Association
News Release
Monday, November 01, 2010

National beach group spotlights coastal achievements

FORT MYERS, FL – The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) honored individuals and shoreline projects at a special banquet on Oct. 14 in Charleston, SC, as part of its 2010 National Coastal Conference, "Celebrating the Diversity of the Coast." 

Morrough P. O’Brien Award

The organization presented its highest honor for lifetime achievement – the Morrough P. O’Brien Award – to Ralph Clark.

Clark has made numerous contributions to coastal research, engineering and management over his 37-year career for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), He was the creator and author of the 1988 Florida Critical Erosion Report that is updated annually, and is used by FDEP to make recommendations for beach and inlet management planning and design along the state’s 825-mile-long sandy shoreline. From 1982 to 1988, Clark was the chief of the Bureau of Coastal Engineering and Regulation, where he was responsible for the development and administration of the state's Coastal Construction Control Line Program, a program that regulates construction and development along its sandy shorelines.

Clark has been the first responder in Florida to more than 41 hurricanes and another 40-plus tropical storms and extra-tropical storms, where he conducted detailed coastal storm impact analysis of structural failures and impacts to the coastal system and provided recommendations for structural improvements and recovery projects.

“This award honors Ralph's long career in the trenches, as it were, working to advance coastal management,” said Harry Simmons, ASBPA president and mayor of Caswell Beach, NC. “It's important to remember that hands-on efforts such as Ralph's are a crucial part of gathering the data that helps to advance coastal science , as well as implementing policies that make the coast sustainable and accessible to everyone."

Member of the Year Award

The ASBPA also honored Peter Seidle as its Member of the Year for 2010. Even though Siedle was just added to the organization’s board of directors, he has been extremely active on a number of ASBPA committees prior to his election to the board.

Seidle is a Project Manager with Applied Technology and Management, responsible for numerous domestic and international projects involving site assessment and characterization beach permitting and design, borrow area resource identification, wave and shoreline modeling, sand source identification and delineation, and construction-phase services. He has over 11 years of experience in the field of Coastal Engineering, and has been a Project Manager for over eight years.

“New board members are important to the future of ASBPA,” Simmons said. “I’m quite pleased to see Pete jump into our activities with such vigor, and hope this award will encourage others to do so as well.”

Educational Award

This year the ASBPA recognized two students with its Educational Award. The ASBPA gives the award annually to undergraduate or graduate students who, through their research, furthers the science of coastal or riverine systems as it relates to the goals and mission of the ASBPA. The nomination for the award includes the submission of a paper suitable for presentation and review by the Shore & Beach editorial board; Shore and Beach is the peer-reviewed coastal management technical journal published quarterly by the ASBPA.

This year's recipients are Katherine Brutsche of the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, FL, and Nirinimesh Kumar of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.

Brutsche's research involves the placement of material in the nearshore area, focusing on the beneficial use of maintenance dredging material from Matanzas Pass in nearshore waters along the coast of Fort Myers Beach, FL, instead of as a feeder beach. Brutsche is currently working on her M.S. in Geology at the University of South Florida. She received her B.S in Geosciences from Virginia Tech in 2007.

Kumar's research involved the development of a numerical modeling system to “discern the variability in three dimensional and depth-averaged cross-shore and alongshore velocities due to changing wave height, wave direction and tidal stages. Kumar is working on his Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. He received his M.S. in Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina earlier this year and his B.S. in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India.

Coastal Scholar Award

The winner of the 2010 ASBPA Coastal Scholar Award is Alicia Mahon. Mahon is a Ph.D. candidate at the Stephens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was the 2009 recipient of the ASBPA’s Student Award. As the coastal scholar, Mahon will work hand-in-hand with coastal experts as the staff assistant to the ASBPA’s Science and Technology Committee. Additionally, Mahon will assist the organizing committee for the ASBPA’s 2011 Coastal Summit in Washington, DC.

“The future of coastal America depends on how well we bring more smart people into the discussion on coastal issues,” Simmons said. “I look forward to watching Alicia and others like her as they become our great minds of the future.”

Project Award

The ASBPA’s Coastal Project award is the ASBPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Coastal projects. This year’s award winner was nominated by two of the fathers of coastal engineering, Professor Robert Weigel and Orville Magoon. The 2010 ASBPA Coastal Project award goes to the Orange County, California, Beach Nourishment Project that includes the beaches of Surfside-Sunset, Bolsa Chica, Huntington Cliffs, Huntington Beach and West Newport Beach.

The project was authorized by Congress in 1962 to include placement of beach fill and the construction of eight groins for sand retention in West Newport Beach. It successfully utilized a variety of coastal engineering techniques that include direct beach fill placement, feeder beach construction, beneficial use of dredged materials, back-passing and coastal structures, and has included periodic nourishments every five years since 1964 totaling almost 18 million cubic yards along the 12-mile project area. These beaches host more than 15 million visitors, annually leading to a tremendous economic and recreational benefit to the local, state and federal governments.

“This project shows how coastal scientists, drawing on an array of management tools, can successfully restore and sustain beaches along a very dynamic Pacific coastline while, at the same time, bringing the beach experience within reach to millions of visitors every year,” said Simmons.

Founded in 1926, the ASBPA promotes 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

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