BOEM & S. Carolina Agree to Evaluate Sand Resources

By Joseph R. Fonseca
Thursday, August 07, 2014

 

As a part of President Obama’s continuing commitment to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and promote resilient coastal systems, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 to evaluate sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning. The cooperative effort will enable BOEM and South Carolina to conduct research that will assist coastal communities recovering from storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Under this agreement, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will evaluate and consolidate existing geological and geophysical data offshore South Carolina. These data will be used to identify and locate potential areas of sand resources, as well as benthic habitat, with the overall goal of having available geologic and benthic habitat resources data accessible for planners and managers. Areas for future resource surveys will also be identified.

“This agreement demonstrates BOEM’s commitment to work with South Carolina to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and enhance resilience efforts for the future,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “We are committed to continuing to work in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms.”

"The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is very pleased to work with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in expanding our understanding of potential offshore sand resources in Federal waters. The results of this study will help to sustain our unique coastline and help to support the substantial positive economic impact the coastline has on the state," said Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director of the Department’s Land, Water & Conservation division, speaking on behalf of the department.

BOEM scientists will assist South Carolina in identifying areas to study for future geophysical and geological surveys, with the purpose of confirming previously identified resources and locating new potential areas of sand resources. BOEM will also help South Carolina develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resilience planning.

Such activities are essential for reducing potential storm damage to the residents, economies, and infrastructure of South Carolina’s coastal areas. Research funded under this agreement will help ensure that activities including offshore dredging and beach nourishment are conducted in a sustainable manner that is compatible with natural sediment transport and biological processes, as well as stakeholder interests.

This agreement is part of a series of partnerships with coastal Atlantic states using part of the $13.6 million allocated to BOEM through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The research will help to identify sand and gravel resources that are appropriate for coastal protection and restoration along the entire Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Since Hurricane Sandy struck, BOEM has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other members of the Federal government’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force, state coastal planning agencies, state geological surveys and other entities to analyze the needs for coastal restoration and to develop restoration plans.

BOEM has the authority to convey, on a noncompetitive basis, the rights to resources for shore protection, beach or wetland restoration projects, or for use in construction projects funded in whole or part, or authorized by the federal government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.

Over the past 20 years, BOEM has invested more than $30 million to identify non-energy resources on the OCS, conduct world-class scientific research, and lease OCS resources to coastal communities in need. Information from environmental research and resource identification has informed environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration. For more information on BOEM's Marine Minerals Program, visit: http://www.boem.gov/MarineMineralsProgram.


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