2.2 Million Cubic Yards Added to Sandbridge, VA, Beachfront
Offshore Sand Resources Managed by BOEM Used for Restoration
The Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management (BOEM) announces the completion of a beach erosion control and
hurricane protection project for Sandbridge Beach in the southern portion of
Virginia Beach, Va.
"Storms such as last fall’s
Hurricane Sandy can have devastating effects on beaches and the natural defenses
protecting shorelines and coastal communities," said BOEM Director Tommy P.
Beaudreau. "BOEM's Marine Minerals Program is doing its part to help protect and
restore natural areas as well as coastal communities and infrastructure,"
BOEM and the City of Virginia
Beach signed an agreement in October 2012 that authorized the use of sand from
the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which BOEM manages. Project construction
began in March 2013 and covered approximately 5 miles of shoreline.
The project included the dredging and placement of approximately 2 million cubic
yards of OCS sand from Sandbridge Shoal in federal waters. The U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (USACE), the City of Virginia Beach, and BOEM collaborated on the
beach reconstruction project along Sandbridge Beach. USACE awarded the contract
to Weeks Marine of Camden, N.J.
|In this photo showing Sandbridge Beach erosion, the
150-180 feet wide. After construction, it will increase to as much as
300 feet, with a minimum of 8.5 feet height.
Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In May 2013, the City of Virginia Beach and USACE requested an additional
200,000 cubic yards of OCS sand from Sandbridge Shoal to replace sand lost due
to Hurricane Sandy last fall. This request was approved in June, and the
additional material was dredged and placed on Sandbridge Beach.
Over the years this area has been damaged by several major storms, nor'easters,
and hurricanes, causing coastal flooding and severe loss of sand. Sandbridge is
susceptible to wave attack on dunes and submerged beach berms, which are raised
mounds of sand beneath the water. This newly reinforced berm will play an
important role in protecting public infrastructure from severe storms.
"These sand replenishment
projects are vital to our coastline in terms of tide and erosion protection,"
said Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. "They not only protect our
resort beaches, but are important to the areas that border our wildlife refuge
and military bases."
Prior to construction of the Sandbridge project, BOEM and USACE
conducted an extensive environmental assessment and consultation process. They
negotiated an agreement that avoids, minimizes and/or mitigates any possible
adverse impacts to loggerhead turtles, transitory marine mammals such as whales,
as well as birds, fish and the human environment.
|An aerial view of the renourishment area at Sandbridge Beach.
Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
BOEM manages non-energy minerals
obtained from the OCS, including sand, gravel and shell resources for coastal
restoration and protection, in addition to overseeing and regulating
conventional and renewable energy development on the OCS. BOEM has the authority
to convey, on a noncompetitive basis, the rights to these resources for shore,
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.
The bureau has spent more than $30 million since 1992 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.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy
independence, environmental protection and economic development through
responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable