Hurricane Recovery Initiatives

Overview

BOEM is prepared and ready to respond to hurricane related disasters, regardless of when or where the impacts occur, as well as providing access to OCS sand to rebuild and protect the Nation’s coast.Personnel and resources have been dedicated to the response efforts of previous hurricanes. BOEM conducts its emergency response activities under the basic authority of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.  

MODISsThe above image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on board NASA's Aqua satellite shows Hurricane Ivan in the Gulf of Mexico at about 1:50 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, 2004. Credit: NASA.

Streamlined Emergency Response

Immediate areas of focus include communicating with stakeholders in areas of need, site analysis and resource availability, legal provisions in our mandate allowing us to respond to emergency needs quickly, and identifying environmental concerns in preparation of potential projects.

Support and Collaboration

BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program specializes in collaboration, support and management of OCS sand and mineral resources. For the past 20 years our team of scientists, program managers and analysts have developed partnerships and worked with the top scientists and policy makers, to responsibly manage OCS natural resources.This vital work allows us to be strategically positioned in order to address immediate resource requirements and information needs of localities, States and other stakeholders.

BOEM has spent more than $30 million over the past 20 years on world-class scientific research that informs environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration.

BOEM Contact Information

For questions and concerns related to BOEM’s Hurricane response please call (202) 208-6474 or email us at BOEMPublicAffairs@boem.gov.  

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Initiative

NJ-Costal-townsPhoto of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking taken on March 18, 2007Credit: Aerial photography courtesy of the NOAA Remote Sensing Division. NJ-Costal-town-northsPhoto of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking, just north of where Hurricane Sandy made landfall, taken on October 31, 2012 shows the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.Credit: Aerial photography courtesy of the NOAA Remote Sensing Division.

Emergency Response

BOEM is currently focusing on the direct need of localities, states, and federal agencies impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  The MMP's emergency response to Hurricane Sandy entails developing a streamlined process to respond to requests for OCS sand needed to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  By creating an expedited process to manage OCS sand requests, the MMP can aid in the restoration of the coast, which will benefit the public by providing additional protection against future storms, renourish beaches for recreational use, and support coastal ecosystems and associated biota such as turtles. 

The immediate areas of focus for the MMP include the following:

  • Communicating with stakeholders in areas of need to understand the level of restoration that could be requested
  • Evaluating what OCS sand resources have been previously identified as suitable for coastal restoration
  • Identifying environmental concerns in preparation of potential projects.

Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Initiatives

In 2013 BOEM received $11.7 million through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act to address critical needs for OCS sand and gravel throughout the coastal areas undergoing recovery and rebuilding (Department of the Interior Hurricane Sandy Spending Plan). BOEM is working closely with other Federal agencies, States, cities, and others to facilitate coastal restoration in affected coastal areas. 

BOEM plans to use approximately $5 million to conduct geophysical and geological surveys to identify and delineate OCS sand resources and determine grain size and suitability for potential use in coastal restoration projects. BOEM anticipates that OCS sand will be needed for restoration activities to mitigate Hurricane Sandy impacts on beaches, communities, and State and Federal land, as well as support regional coastal resiliency efforts. 

BOEM has evaluated potential impacts that could result from conducting geophysical and geologic surveys to map OCS sand resources. Specific mitigation measures are included as part of the proposed action to avoid or minimize effects on environmental resources and historic properties. An Environmental Assessment has been prepared and is available here. The signed Finding of No Significant Impact is available here.

Research and Resources Available

In 1992, the MMP began working cooperatively with coastal states including Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York to identify and evaluate sand deposits in Federal waters with potential for use in beach nourishment projects.  This comprehensive research and resource identification includes:

  • Resource Identification
  • Natural Resource Stewardship
  • Beach Nourishment Economics
  • Environmental Research & Assessment
  • Oceanography & Geology

The BOEM, through the Marine Minerals Program, has been invited to participate in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study – Reducing Risk and Building Resilience. The purpose of the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study is to develop a strategy to reduce risk and increase resiliency to populations affected by Hurricane Sandy and those areas vulnerable to tidally-influenced flooding and storm surge in areas within the boundaries of the USACE North Atlantic Division. The intent of this study is to bring together Federal agencies, States, local, and Tribal governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations together to gather information and input on how to build resilience and reduce risk for those areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Participants will identify actions that can create resilience and reduce risk along the coastline. More information about the USACE North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study can be found at http://www.nad.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/HurricaneSandyCoastalRecovery/NorthAtlanticComprehensiveStudy.aspx

Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery Initiative

Public Law 109-234-Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006, BOEM received funds to support coastal restoration efforts in the Gulf Coasts states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The funds are being used to investigate available sources of Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand that can be used to restore portions of the coastal areas that were damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Sand resources needed to repair the damaged coastlines and barrier islands of the four states is estimated to be from 250 to more than 300 million cubic yards; in Louisiana alone, more than 200 square miles of coastal land was lost due to the hurricanes.  

Proposals were received from the resource management agencies of the 4 states through Grants.Gov. They were reviewed by the Bureau Leasing Division, the Gulf of Mexico Region and the USGS and final proposals were received and accepted. Criteria for funding allocation included damage in dollars to each state's coastline, miles of coastline actually affected by the 2 storms, volumes of sand needed to restore each state's coastline, need for Federal sand versus resources available in state waters, and amount of offshore sand evaluation work needed to be done versus amount of work completed to date.

USGSs USGS2s
This image, taken in 2001, shows narrow sandy beaches and adjacent overwash sandflats, low vegetated dunes, and backbarrier marshes broken by ponds and channels.Credit: USGS This image shows the same location on August 31, 2005, two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana and Mississippi coastline. Storm surge and large waves from Hurricane Katrina submerged the islands, stripped sand from the beaches, and eroded large sections of the marsh Credit: USGS  

 

LAnew

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, was provided funding to further investigate Tiger and Trinity shoal areas. The proposed work includes acquisition of over 1600 miles of high-resolution seismic data and 50 vibracores in the Trinity and Tiger Shoal area. Sand from the area will be used for restoration of March Island, Rockefeller Refuge, Paul Raney Refuge, and Russell Sage Refuge in the central part of the State.

TXs

The Texas General Land Office, was provided funding for sand studies offshore of the Galveston area. The proposed work will include re-processing and compilation of seismic data offshore of Jefferson and Brazoria Counties, the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Rita. After this first phase of work, additional cores and seismic data will be acquired under subcontract with Louisiana State University. All of the data will then be analyzed and potential borrow areas delineated and sand volumes calculated

GSAlabamas2

The Alabama Geological Survey, was provided funding to build a sand database for its entire offshore area out to 25 miles. The proposed work will include entry of all offshore sand, environmental, and infrastructure data into a new GIS which will be placed in an interactive web site so the user can download custom-made maps, charts and graphs. Based on the data assembled and evaluated, potential borrow sites will be delineated and sand volumes calculated

MSnew1

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, was provided funding to conduct geophysical data analysis, coring and sampling. The proposed work includes digitizing and compilation of seismic and vibracore data in the St. Bernard Shoals area east to the offshore extension of the Alabama-Mississippi line. The information will be preserved in a database and sand volumes will be calculated.