BOEM and Delaware Sign Agreement to Identify Sand Resources for Coastal Resilience and Restoration Planning

05-23-2014 WASHINGTON

Contact: Marjorie Weisskohl
703-787-1304

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 Delaware signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 to identify sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning. The agreement will help BOEM and Delaware conduct research that will assist coastal communities recovering 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 Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), located at the University of Delaware, will evaluate and consolidate Delaware’s existing geologic and geophysical data. The data will be used to identify new sand resources to meet future needs.

“This agreement renews BOEM’s commitment to work with Delaware 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 Delaware Geological Survey and BOEM began working together on sand resource projects in 1992.

“The Delaware coast and beaches provide a tremendous benefit to Delaware’s economy, as well as residential and recreational opportunities for our citizens and visitors alike. We are looking forward to working again with BOEM on this important project,” said DGS Director and State Geologist, David Wunsch.

BOEM scientists will assist Delaware in identifying areas to study for future geophysical and geological surveys, with the purpose of confirming previously identified resources and locating new areas of potential sand resources. BOEM will also help Delaware 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 Delaware’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 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/.

BOEM promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy and marine mineral resources.