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Posted 11/6/2013

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By Susan Jackson

The Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association (FSBPA) presented awards in recognition of Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Debby recovery efforts to two Jacksonville District team members during its 57th Annual Conference at Delray Beach Sept. 25-27.

Jackie Keiser, chief of the coastal navigation section, received the Stan Tait Award, the association’s highest honor, for “truly outstanding contributions” to Florida’s beaches. Col. Alan Dodd, district commander, received the Richard Bonner Award for 2013 for outstanding service by an individual representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Tropical Storm Debby formed and made landfall in late June 2012, which impacted the entire Florida Gulf Coast region, causing ten deaths and $250 million in damage. Four months later, Hurricane Sandy formed in the Caribbean and made landfall in New Jersey. Sandy was the tenth hurricane and second major storm of the season, and impacted the entire East Coast. It brought tropical storm-force winds, rain and large swells to south Florida, causing 268 deaths and $68 billion in damage.

The hurricane and the tropical storm also brought an unprecedented amount of emergency work to Jacksonville District, resulting in 22 emergency projects that needed to be designed, advertised, permitted and awarded in just a few months. Originally, only one small federal beach project and a navigation project with beach placement had been planned for 2013. 

“This team and our partners overcame unrelenting challenges to execute 22 additional projects and proved that with hard work, dedication and teamwork – anything is possible,” Keiser said. 

The coastal projects included 14 beach projects and ten supplemental navigation projects with beach placement. Contracts included 8 million cubic yards of sand placement on 38.5 miles of Florida's beaches and provided for emergency navigation maintenance at nine ports or channels, totaling $145 million. Jacksonville District delivered the projects in less than 30 days, which was earlier than required, and $20 million under budget. All contracts were awarded as of Sept. 27.

Keiser’s nomination was sponsored by Palm Beach County and endorsed by representatives of Manatee and Pinellas counties. “FSBPA member governments have long recognized that Jackie’s experience and expertise, coupled with her friendly demeanor, tenacity and dedication make her an invaluable and vital partner in the challenging and ongoing task of protecting and restoring Florida’s beaches,” said Debbie Flack, FSBPA president. 

“Jackie was the driving force behind this effort. She volunteered to lead the district’s Emergency Storm Response Program (Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies (FCCE)/Supplemental Operations & Maintenance), which necessitated extensive analysis of efficiencies to maintain the superior level of the program while also maintaining service to the branch/program,” said Jerry Scarborough, chief of Water Resources Branch, Programs and Project Management Division.

Scarborough said the first priority was given to execution and involved significant strategy and unprecedented coordination.  “Jackie's efforts exceeded customer expectations through delivery of quality products in unprecedented time and under budget,” he said. 

The new strategies developed as a part of the FCCE program proved extremely successful, Scarborough said, and ultimately will provide for more efficient delivery of products in the district.  “These strategies also have potential nationwide application through regionalization and combining projects and extensive use of regional sediment management (integrated dredging program) that optimizes use of funding and sediment resources on both coastal and navigation projects. Jackie receiving the Stan Tait award is a huge testament to her relentless efforts and tremendous dedication to the mission.”

And Dodd was also a huge frontline asset during the emergency efforts, Scarborough said. “He was our lead negotiator in dealings with higher authorities and a tremendous help in elevating policy decisions. He was also a calming force with our project sponsors in helping to relieve their uncertainty as to the effort being put forth for their projects.” 

The FSBPA recognized Dodd’s leadership and administrative efforts in overseeing an effective and capable team, and expediently addressing the needs of Florida’s storm damaged federal projects.

“The Jacksonville District, under Col. Dodd’s direction, put forth extraordinary efforts to help Florida’s beaches recover from the damages caused by Tropical Storm Debby and Hurricane Sandy,” said Flack.

beach restoration FCCE Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association FSBPA Jacksonville District navigation Richard Bonner Award sand placement Stan Tait Award U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE