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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
This study was supported by Contract DTMA91-94-G-00003 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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COMMITTEE ON COASTAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH AND EDUCATION NEEDS
ROBERT A. DALRYMPLE, chair,
University of Delaware, Newark
RICHARD A. DAVIS,
University of South Florida, Tampa
ROBERT G. DEAN,
NAE, University of Florida, Gainesville
BILLY L. EDGE,
Texas A&M University, College Station
KARYN E. ERICKSON,
Applied Technology & Management, Inc., Gainesville, Florida
JOHN S. FISHER,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh
GARY B. GRIGGS,
University of California, Santa Cruz
ORVILLE T. MAGOON,
Coastal Zone Foundation, Middletown, California
MARVIN K. MOSS,
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
ROBERT D. NICHOL,
Moffatt & Nichol Engineers, Long Beach, California
ANTHONY P. PRATT,
State of Delaware, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Dover
NAE, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
RICHARD J. SEYMOUR,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland
National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia
CHARLES B. CHESNUTT,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
THOMAS H. KINDER,
Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia
C. LINWOOD VINCENT,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.
ROBERT W. WHALIN,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi
S. JEFFRESS WILLIAMS,
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
JOSEPH L. ZELIBOR, JR. (deceased), Study Director (until April 1997)
JILL WILSON, Study Director (until April 1998)
SUSAN GARBINI, Study Director (from April 1998)
EILEEN TOLSON, Study Assistant (until May 1997)
DONNA HENRY, Study Assistant (from April 1998)
JAMES M. COLEMAN,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
JERRY A. ASPLAND, vice chair,
California Maritime Academy, Vallejo
BERNHARD J. ABRAHAMSSON,
University of Wisconsin, Superior
LARRY B. ATKINSON,
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
PETER F. BONTADELLI,
California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento
LILLIAN C. BORRONE,
NAE, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
University of Delaware, Newark
SYLVIA A. EARLE,
Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Oakland, California
BILLY L. EDGE,
Texas A&M University, College Station
JOHN W. FARRINGTON,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
LeMoyne College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cazenovia, New York
R. KEITH MICHEL,
Herbert Engineering, San Francisco, California
JEROME H. MILGRAM,
NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
JAMES D. MURFF,
Exxon Production Research Company, Houston, Texas
STEVEN T. SCALZO,
Foss Maritime Company, Seattle, Washington
MALCOLM L. SPAULDING,
University of Rhode Island, Narragansett
Sea-Land Service, Charlotte, North Carolina
E.G. "SKIP" WARD,
Shell Offshore, Houston, Texas
PETER JOHNSON, Director
SUSAN GARBINI, Senior Staff Officer
DANA CAINES, Financial Associate
THERESA M. FISHER, Administrative Assistant
DONNA HENRY, Project Assistant
Traditional coastal engineering education and practices have centered on designing, constructing, and maintaining waterways and port facilities; protecting and stabilizing shorelines, entrances, and channels; and controlling flooding and the effects of storm-driven energy. New practices have steadily evolved during the past two decades to improve water quality and reduce pollution; monitor, calibrate, analyze, and adjust physical aspects of hydraulic and sediment systems; and diminish or mitigate the environmental impacts of water-related problems. Diagnostic procedures have also been developed for determining the effects of coastal processes and the impact of built structures and other restorative measures on the coast.
Coastal engineers are expected to undertake varied activities with sometimes conflicting objectives, depending on the policy and philosophy guiding a particular coastal engineering project. For example, some projects are intended to enhance, restore, or create habitat, while others will inevitably destroy or limit habitat; in some instances, a decision is made to protect coastlines with traditional hard structures, such as seawalls, while in others, natural (soft) shore protection measures, such as beach nourishment and underwater berms, are preferred. Dredged materials may be considered a resource in one project and "spoil" for disposal in another.
Rising sea levels, damaging storm surges, eroding beaches, deteriorating coastal habitats, and aging port and harbor infrastructures present formidable challenges to the integrity of coastal zone resources and ecosystems and the full
realization of the economic potential of the coasts. The knowledge base to address these and other problems depends on research and education, as well as on field and laboratory experience.
Support for research and education in coastal engineering, however, has remained level or declined in response to pressures on government agencies to control federal spending and focus on mission-oriented projects. Nevertheless, the need for expertise in coastal engineering has increased with the concentration of population and associated infrastructure in coastal areas and the recent increase in the frequency and intensity of major storms in the Gulf of Mexico and on the East Coast. Because of the economic and ecological importance of coastal engineering, an assessment of the capability of existing institutions to meet the national need for research and education in this field is both necessary and timely.
Scope of the Study
After discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Office of Naval Research, the National Research Council (NRC) convened a committee under the auspices of the Marine Board to examine present and anticipated national needs in coastal engineering research and education and assess the adequacy and effectiveness of existing institutions in meeting those needs. In carrying out its charge, the committee undertook the following specific tasks:
- Determine the role of coastal engineering research and education in meeting national needs.
- Assess the capabilities of coastal engineering research and facilities in meeting national needs.
- Evaluate programs and facilities for educating coastal engineers in the context of national needs.
- Assess the adequacy of the nation's investment in coastal engineering research and education in meeting national needs.
The committee had expertise in the following areas: coastal engineering research, coastal engineering applications, marine geology, coastal management, research management, engineering education, and habitat restoration and enhancement. The committee reviewed relevant reports and was briefed on federal and private sector activities related to coastal engineering research and education. Information was solicited from expert researchers and practitioners from federal, regional, state, and local government agencies; industry; and public interest groups.
The audience for this report includes federal, state, and local government agencies; policy makers; members of the technical and academic communities; and other members of the marine or coastal community, including the general public, with a stake in coastal engineering research and education.
In Chapter 1, the committee examines the national needs for coastal engineering in detail, from beaches to ports to estuaries, highlighting the most important national needs. In Chapter 2, the committee assesses the current academic status of coastal engineering research and education based on a survey of programs and summarizes the status of research in the United States. Chapter 3 presents the committee's findings, conclusions, and recommendations. An Executive Summary provides a summary of the report. Biographies of committee members are given in Appendix A, and the survey and a summary of responses are presented in Appendix B.
The committee wishes to thank the many individuals who contributed their time and effort to this project by presenting material at committee meetings and workshops and by contributing written material or participating by telephone. Representatives of federal and state agencies, as well as private companies in various engineering sectors, provided invaluable assistance to the committee and the Marine Board staff.
This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remains confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:
Larry P. Atkinson, Old Dominion University
David Breneman, University of Virginia
L.G. (Gary) Byrd, Consulting Engineer
Lloyd Duscha, Consultant
Paul Kavanaugh, Engineering Management Consultant
Stephen P. Leatherman, Florida International University
Thomas C. Malone, University of Maryland
Chiang G. Mei, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Donald W. Pritchard, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Fred N. Spiess, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.
The committee especially wishes to remember the work of the late Joseph L. Zelibor, Jr., who was the initial staff officer on this project and who assisted the committee in the difficult early stages of this study. His sudden and untimely death is a great loss.
Finally, the chairman would like to thank the members of the committee, not only for their hard work during meetings and in reviewing drafts of this report, but also for gathering information and writing sections of the report.
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
Insured Losses from Hurricanes, 1989 to 1998
Employment of Recipients of Graduate Degrees
Levels of Research Funding
Progressive shoreline recession at St. Lucie Inlet, Florida
Total federal support for research in coastal engineering
Major funding for academic research
Total support for academic research