by Bryan N. Jones, PE, Northeast Ports & Maritime Lead, HDR and COPRI Boston Chapter Chair
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of ASCE’s Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI). Created in 2000, COPRI is one of nine semi-autonomous institutes within ASCE. Its mission is to serve its members through improving knowledge, education, development and practice of civil engineering and other disciplines in the sustainable management of coastal, ocean, port, waterways, riverine, and wetlands resources for the benefit of society.
Over the past 20 years this highly specialized national institute has grown to more than 4,000 members; with 36 technical and subcommittees, 10 professional chapters, and 10 student chapters serving local, regional, national and international COPRI needs. Locally, the longstanding BSCES Waterways technical group was re-chartered in 2012 as the COPRI Boston Chapter. This group continues to provide events and programs with impressive and knowledgeable speakers that stimulate discussion and provide useful engineering and business ideas, as well as networking opportunities for sustainable development, protection and restoration of our coasts, oceans, ports, waterways, rivers and wetlands.
As a multidisciplinary and international leader in the sustainable management of coastal, ocean, port, waterways, riverine and wetlands resources for the benefit of society, COPRI seeks to integrate key stakeholders into decision-making processes; advance the technological state of art and practice; and influence public policy. COPRI does this through several key functions, including:
- Establishment and governance of numerous technical committees, which produce journals, standards, manuals of practice, and guidelines for this specialized profession. The principal technical committees in COPRI include:
- The Coastal Council, which includes subcommittees focusing on Coastal and Estuarine Hydroscience, the Coastal Engineering Research Council, Coastal Structures, and Coastal Zone Management.
- Marine Renewable Energy Committee— which works on the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine renewable energy facilities above and below the water, including: anchoring to the seabed; mooring systems; transmission cable burial and protection; federal, state, and regional planning and regulation efforts; and port and harbor infrastructure to support the construction and maintenance of marine renewable structures and technology.
- Ocean & Offshore Engineering Committee—This committee is particularly concerned with understanding the interrelationships among hydrodynamics, structural design, structural dynamics, and geotechnical engineering in the offshore ocean environment.
- Ports & Harbors Committee—Consisting of 14 distinct technical subcommittees, the Ports & Harbors Committee seeks to lead the profession in advancing the planning, design, construction, maintenance, operation, pollution control, and technical functioning of ports and harbors infrastructure, including coordination with the appropriate committees of the American Association of Port Authorities and permanent International Association of Navigational Congress (PIANC). Areas of focus are on the engineering aspects of (1) waterborne transportation, commercial (including fishing) and recreational interests, (2) plans for expansion to meet future needs; (3) the environmental implications of such expansion; and (4) handling equipment and other port related facilities.
- Waterways Committee—This group studies and reports on methods and problems of planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of waterways, including dredging, stabilization, navigation, flood control and regulation, with consideration of their effects on the environment.
Each of these technical committees is comprised of professional volunteers nationwide, who collaborate to provide peerreviewed articles, standards and manuals of practice that provide state-of-the-art guidance to practitioners and academics alike, including for example:
- The Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering
- Inland Navigation: Environmental Sustainability (2019)
- Waterfront Facilities Inspection and Assessment Manual of Practice (2015)
- Seismic Design of Piers and Wharves (2014)
- Planning and Design Guidelines for Small Craft Harbors (3rd Ed. 2012)
- Advances in Coastal Structure Design (2003)
- Underwater Investigations—Standard Practice Manual (2001)
- The technical committees are also involved in producing and moderating nationally recognized technical conferences for knowledge transfer and networking, including a triennial Ports Conference, the Coastal Structures Conferences, and Solutions to Coastal Disasters; as well as collaborating with other organizations on international conferences being hosted in the U.S. such as the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) and the International Conferences in Coastal Engineering (ICCE).
- COPRI also coordinates and sponsoring teams of technical professionals (volunteers) for postdisaster damage assessment of port infrastructure and coastal structures following major hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. The work of these expert teams provides valuable forensic knowledge and “lessons learned” on the performance and failure of coastal and marine infrastructure, and is consolidated into published professional proceedings.
- Another function within COPRI is specialized Board Certification in the fields of Coastal Engineering, Port Engineering, Navigation Engineering and Ocean Engineering, which is administered through the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port, and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE).
- And finally, COPRI seeks to recognize our colleagues who have contributed to the civil and harbor, coastal, and waterways engineering profession in significant ways; by administering national awards programs such as the annual Project Excellence Awards, the John G. Moffat-tFrank E. Nichol Harbor and Coastal Engineering Award, the Kenny Childs Practitioner’s Award, the Orville T. Magoon Sustainable Coasts Award, and the International Coastal Engineering Award, among others.
- COPRI also offers several specialized guided on-line courses that provide specialized, practical knowledge beyond what engineers typically gain from undergraduate and graduate programs. These courses are developed by industry specialists including port engineers, maritime facility operators, environmental regulators, military engineers, and private industry consultants. Upcoming courses opportunities include:
- Introduction to Port Engineering July 20–August 28, 2020
- Marine Container Terminal Planning September 21–December 11, 2020
- Seismic Design of Piers and Wharves September 21–December 11, 2020 I would encourage interested engineers, scientists, and regulators within private industry as well as government to check out your local COPRI Boston Chapter, and take advantage of the professional opportunities to participate within COPRI.