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 State of New Jersey signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $400,000 to identify sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning. The agreement will help BOEM and New Jersey conduct research that will help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy, restore habitat, increase our knowledge of sand resources offshore, and contribute to long-term coastal resilience planning efforts.
Under this agreement, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Geological and Water Survey (NJGWS) will focus on assessing sand resources offshore Monmouth and Northern Ocean counties to support a range of activities, including shoreline and habitat restoration efforts. The NJGWS will develop resource maps and review existing marine geological studies to assist BOEM in identifying sand resources that can be included as a component of state coastal resilience and restoration planning. The NJGWS has an ongoing program to identify sand resources in both state and federal waters.
"This agreement renews BOEM's commitment to work with New Jersey 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."
"This research will have great benefit to projects to be done by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will be focusing on restoring and improving New Jersey's coastline, to make it more resilient and better able to withstand future storms,'' said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.
BOEM scientists will assist New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey'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 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 prjects, 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.