BOEM Scientific Studies

BOEM, through its Environmental Studies Program (ESP), develops, conducts, and oversees world-class scientific research to inform policy decisions regarding the development of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy and mineral resources. BOEM-sponsored research is contributing to a balanced understanding of key issues across all major sectors, and also providing critical input to Ocean Policy implementation.

Examples of scientific studies that support both BOEM's mission and ocean policy initiatives include:

Compendium of Avian Occurrence Information for The Continental Shelf Waters along the Atlantic Coast of United States: Final Report (Database Section-Seabirds) 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service compiled a database of seabird observations along the Atlantic Coast. This project focused on 4 objectives: (1) retrieve, compile, and organize seabird data for the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) region; (2) model seabird distribution and evaluate importance of various biological and biophysical factors on select species populations; (3) make seabird and shorebird data available in an electronic database and useable in a GIS (i.e., ArcGIS); (4) place both seabird and shorebird data into a GIS database. This report fulfills portions of objectives #1, 3, and 4.   

Identification of OCS Renewable Energy Space-Use Conflicts and Analysis of Potential Mitigation

The ocean accommodates a wide variety of uses that are separated by time of day, season, location, and zones. Conflict can and does occur, however, when two or more groups wish to use the same space at the same time in an exclusive manner. The potential for conflict is well known and the management of ocean space and resources has been, and is being, addressed by a number of state, regional, and Federal organizations, including, among others, coastal zone management agencies, state task forces, and regional fisheries management councils. However, with new and emerging uses of the ocean, such as aquaculture and offshore renewable energy, comes the potential for new types of space-use conflicts in ocean waters.

Inventory and Analysis of Archaeological Site Occurrence on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf

To better manage known and potential cultural resources, BOEM requested an updated study for the Atlantic OCS that gathers information on historic shipwrecks and models the potential for  prehistoric sites based on reconstruction of past landscapes, human settlement patterns, and site formation and preservation conditions, particularly during the period of coastal transgression. The current study supplements two previous studies of portions of the Atlantic OCS carried out approximately 30 years ago (Institute for Conservation Archaeology [ICA] 1979; Science Applications, Inc. [SAI] 1981). The ICA study covered the area from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras, while the SAI study covered the area from Cape Hatteras to Key West. Both studies provided an overview of the geology, prehistory, and sea level rise data that may affect submerged prehistoric site preservation, as well as a predictive model for locating historic shipwrecks. This study builds upon this body of work by exploring more recent research on prehistoric settlement patterns, archaeological research, and relative sea level curves to refine the predictive model for locating intact, submerged prehistoric archaeological sites on the OCS.

You can find a complete listing of offshore renewable energy studies here.