A CHRONOLOGY OF THE AMERICAN SHORE AND BEACH ASSOCIATION
1926: ASBPA founded. The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association was founded in 1926 by individuals who recognized the need for an organized effort to combat erosion, a serious problem in many coastal areas. Experience had shown that long stretches of shore were affected, making protective efforts by individual property owners or small communities futile. The expertise required to design comprehensive programs of protection was largely lacking. In bygone days, the needs of navigation were regarded as paramount and there was no redress available for damages to adjacent shores by navigation works.
The founding members of the Association were active in persuading the Congress to enact legislation authorizing Federal sharing of the cost, first of erosion studies of specific problem areas and, later, of project works. Then, as now, this required data collection, research on coastal processes, and the development and the use of analytical techniques and hydraulic models (and, today, numerical models as well).
The formation of the ASBPA followed a string of events in the 1920s that appears to have begun in New Jersey in 1922. The New Jersey legislature funded an investigation into beach erosion problems in that state. This investigation involved the federal government, and in response to this involvement Congress passed Public Law 71-250 which eventually resulted in the Corps creating the Beach Erosion Board. Apparently associated with these actions was also the National Research Council formation of the Committee on Shoreline Investigation in 1926.
This committee made recommendations that led to New Jersey Gov. A. Harry Moore inviting the governors of the coastal states of the Atlantic and Great Lakes shoreline to meet in Asbury Park, NJ, on Oct. 14-15, 1926, to meet about beach problems. That meeting was attended by 85 delegates who decided that a national organization should be formed. An Executive Committee met soon after in Norfolk, VA and a constitution and bylaws were drawn up. The first headquarters of this new Association was in the National Research Council headquarters in Washington, DC. The Association was incorporated in 1933.
1926-1953: J. Spencer Smith, one of the original founders of ASBPA, serves as President.
1933: Shore & Beach begins publication. Shore & Beach, the journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, spans seven decades documenting our coast since the first issue appeared in October 1933. By the end of year 2000, 68 volumes had been published in 201 issues. Articles appearing in Shore & Beach predate the development of modern coastal engineering and science which emerged in the 1950’s and constitutes a valuable resource of the state of the nation’s beaches, progress in understanding the science, engineering case studies, law of the coast, and planning, policy, and environmental issues. (From the ASBPA website.)
This was also the year that ASBPA incorporated as a public, nonprofit organization under the laws of New Jersey. The Association was very politically active and, according to Peter Gannon in Shore and Beach: “…its members were successful in having legislation passed over the years, in the following sequence:
“1. In 1930 the Corps of Engineers was authorized to cooperate with State agencies in studying shore erosion problems for specific localities and to create a Board of seven members which would review the reports of those studies. The Board was named the Beach Erosion Board.
“2. Recognizing that works designed to improve navigation facilities at river mouths and inlets, in 1935 Congress required that reports concerning improvements of river mouths or inlets include a discussion of the probable effects of such improvements on adjacent shorelines for a distance of not less than 10 miles on each side of such entrance.
“3. In 1936, the Association supported a measure known as U.S. Beach Improvement and Protection Act which was passed by Congress and approved by the President on June 26, 1936. This Act established the policy of Federal assistance where federal interests are involved for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the healthful recreation of the people; assigns the investigation of the projects to the Beach Erosion Board, under the Corps of Engineers, and directed that Board to recommend what share of expense should be borne by the Federal Government.
“4. During this period the association was also instrumental in having the National Congress include shore protection works among the projects that might benefit under the Public Works Administration and Works Project Administration.
“5. Public Law 166, 79th Congress, approved July 31, 1945 authorized ‘general investigations’ of erosion of the shores of the United States, the results of such investigations at Federal expense could be utilized in cooperative studies with local agencies.
“6. Public Law 727, 79th Congress, approved August 13, 1946 authorized Federal financial participation not to exceed 1/3 of the cost of protecting property ‘owned by States, Municipalities, or other political subdivisions.’
“7. In 1955 Congress enacted Public Law 71, 84th Congress which directed the Corps of Engineers to investigate Atlantic and Gulf shores of the United States with a view to determining measures which could be undertaken to reduce damage from hurricanes.
“8. In 1956 Public Law 826, 84th Congress, extended Federal assistance to protection of privately owned shores if there is benefit such as that arising from public use or from protection of nearby public property, the federal contribution to be adjusted in accordance with the degree of such benefits.
“9. In 1962 Public Law 87-874 further liberalized Public law 727,79th Congress. The authorized Federal assistance was increased from one-third to one-half for publicly owned shores and to one-half adjusted as previously for privately owned shores. Federal assistance of 70 percent for parks conservation areas meeting certain criteria was authorized. In addition investigations of shore problems entirely at Federal expense, rather than on a cooperative basis as heretofore, were authorized.
“10. In 1963 the Beach Erosion Board was abolished by Congressional action. Its research function was assigned to the newly created Coastal Engineering Research Center and its function of review of reports of investigation of erosion problems for specific shore areas was transferred to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors which has long had the review function for reports on navigation improvements, flood control and hurricane protection.
“11. In further recognition of the damaging effects of certain navigation improvements on adjacent shores, in 1968 Congress authorized the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to investigate study and construct projects for the prevention or mitigation of shore damages attributable to Federal navigation works. The costs of installing, operating, and maintaining such projects are to be borne by the United States.”
So it required a tedious, deliberate 20-year (1926-1946) effort and perhaps the tenacity of one man — J. Spencer Smith — to bring about the initial advance in a relatively new science-beach preservation and Federal assistance in construction protective measures.”
J. Spencer Smith served as President of ASBPA from 1926 to 1953. As cited above his tenure marked a politically active era. He was followed as president by:
- Admiral Leo Otis Colbert, Ret., 1954 to 1958
- Major General Charles Holle, Ret., 1959 to 1972
- Prof. Morrough P. O’Brien 1972 to 1983
- Orville T. Magoon 1983 to 1994
- Gregory Woodell 1994 to 2003
- Mayor Harry Simmons 2004 to 2015
- Tony Pratt from 2015 to present.
1995: The Clinton Administration announces plans to reduce the Corps’ budget by $800 million. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Martin Lancaster, announces in February that the Administration is eliminating the Corps involvement in shoreline protection and storm damage reduction projects. This action begins a chain of events that changed the ASBPA and caused the formation of the American Coastal Coalition (ACC.)
1996: After a Washington, DC, meeting with lobbyist Howard Marlowe and ASBPA officers and directors, a new group was formed to concentrate on lobbying for continued federal involvement in beach restoration. The new group was initially called Coastal America, but the name was soon changed to the American Coastal Coalition (ACC).
One of the first thing the new ACC took on was endorsement of the Shore Protection Act of 1996 which kept the federal government involved in shore protection projects and added economic and ecological benefits to the list of things to consider when judging a project.
1997-2000: Funding continued to be a problem for ACC while the organization continues to develop as a credible voice in Washington. At the ASBPA Board meeting on Aug. 6, 2000, in Hawaii, lobbying by the organization was discussed.
2001: The ACC board met in Orlando in February to begin the process of restructuring the ACC. The Board accepted the proposal of Gooderham & Associates Inc. to handle the administration of the organization, and a Request for Proposal for a lobbyist was drafted. In May, the ACC and ASBPA held a joint conference in Washington, DC. At this meeting both organizations held their board meetings at the same time in different rooms. The ACC moved to hire Birch, Horton, Bitner &Cherot as its DC lobbyist based on the responses to the RFP. At the same time, the ASBPA board was considering hiring Howard Marlowe as a lobbyist for that organization. At a later board call, the ACC president said the ACC and ASBPA should look for more opportunities to work together.
2002: On Sept. 15, 2002, the ASBPA Board met and discussed, among other things, the possible merger of ASBPA and ACC. Both group’s boards had expressed interest in pursuing an investigation into collaborative options, including the use of Marlowe as lobbyist for both groups. An ASBPA committee comprising members of both groups was formed to pursue this idea.
2003: At the May 16, 2003, ACC Board Meeting in Washington, DC, members discussed formalizing a relationship with ASBPA via a joint ACC/ASBPA committee to recommend an appropriate structure, scope of responsibilities, delineation of roles and board membership between the two organizations. The outcome of this was a recommendation that the two groups merge at the end of 2003 with lobbying to be done by Marlowe & Co. and administration/events by Gooderham & Associates Inc., as approved by the ASBPA board during its Wilmington, NC, board meeting, and by the ACC board during an August teleconference.
2004: The new post-merger ASBPA board met in Washington, DC, at the Coastal Summit (previously an ACC event), with Mayor Harry Simmons as the new ASBPA president. The ASBPA fall coastal conference was held in New Orleans, establishing a new pattern for conferences (DC policy in the spring, fall technical in a coastal location) that would hold to the present.
2006: Fall conference was held in Long Branch, NJ, for 80th anniversary. Shore & Beach DVD produced to collect all the back issues to date.
2007: Fall conference was in Galveston, held in conjunction with the Texas General Land Office. Executive Committee forms and begins winter/summer retreats. Beth Sciaudone starts as Shore & Beach managing editor
2014: Executive Committee proposes a new direction for the association’s policy pursuits, terminating the contract with lobbyist Howard Marlowe with board concurrence, and launching a search for a new Executive Director (who would be DC-focused) with Gooderham & Associates being renamed as Managing Directors with essentially the same duties as before.
2015: Derek Brockbank is hired as the association’s Executive Director concurrently with the DC Coastal Summit. First Vice President Tony Pratt is named acting president in September, and then elected as president at the October board meeting.
ASBPA Conference History
Year Month City, State “Shore & Beach” proceedings or joint participants (if pertinent)
2016 October Long Branch, NJ 90th anniversary
2015 October New Orleans
2014 October Virginia Beach, VA
2013 October South Padre Island, TX
2012 October San Diego, CA
2011 October New Orleans, LA
2010 October Charleston, SC
2009 October St. Pete Beach, FL
2008 October Chicago, IL
2007 October Galveston, TX Joint conference w/Texas General Land Office
2006 October Long Branch, NJ 80th anniversary
2005 October San Francisco, CA
2004 September New Orleans, LA
2003 September Wilmington, NC 71-2
2002 September Portland, OR 71-1
2001 May Washington, DC 69-1 Joint conference w/American Coastal Coalition
2000 August Kaanapali, Maui, HI 67-4
1998 Galveston, TX 66-2
1997 October Hauppauge, NY 65-3
1995 November San Diego, CA 63-3
1994 October Virginia Beach, VA 62-3
1993 July New Orleans, LA 61-3
1992 Nov. Huntington Beach, CA 60-4
1991 October Atlantic City, NJ 59-3
1990 October Atlantic City, NJ 58-3
1984 October Santa Cruz, CA 52-3
1983 September Boca Raton, FL 51-3 Joint conference w/FSBPA)
1980 Nov. Hollywood, FL 48-3 (Coastal Zone ’80)
1977 October Washington, D.C. 45-3
1976 July Honolulu, HI 43-2
1975 October Miami Beach, FL 42-4 Joint conference w/FSBPA)
1970 September Washington, D.C. 38-1
1969 September Atlantic City, NJ 37-1
1968 November New Orleans, LA 36-1
1961 June Ocean City, NY 29-1
1960 Santa Monica 28-1
1959 April Sarasota, FL 27-1 Joint conference w/FSBPA)
1958 May Washington, D.C. 26-2
1957 May Asbury Park, NJ 25-2
1956 April New Orleans, LA 24-2
1955 April Miami Beach, FL 23-1
1954 May Boston, MA 22-2
1952 May Atlantic City, NJ 20-2
1951 April Mobile, AL 19-2
1950 September Long Beach, CA 18-1
1949 October New York City, NY 17-2
1948 May Boston, MA 16-2
1947 May Asbury Park, NJ 15-2
1946 March Washington, D.C. 14-1
1944 May-June Chicago, IL 12-2
1941 May Cape May, NJ 9-3
1940 June Hampton Beach, NH 8-3
1939 April Washington, D.C. 7-2
1938 April Washington, D.C. 6-3
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