In recent years, BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program has seen an increase in both the number of requests and volume of OCS sediment requested for coastal restoration projects. This is largely driven by diminishing resources in state waters, the frequency and magnitude of storms along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and sea level rise. To help prepare for and meet future sand resource needs out to about 2027, MMP funded a study entitled Projected OCS Sand Resource Needs and Effort. The report outlines several possible scenarios to help estimate future need and the research required to meet the demand.
The study compiled coastal project data from many different sources. BOEM recognizes there is incomplete information for some specific timeframes and locations, and uncertainty when projecting the demand for sediment to address erosion following future storms. The report reached three major conclusions: more states will turn to OCS sediment resources as in-state resources become scarce, the volumes requested will be larger to support increasing coastal resilience measures, and there is a critical need for BOEM to continue identifying additional OCS sand resources.
Potential follow-on studies would attempt to close many of these data gaps to refine the forecast and improve its usefulness to coastal managers.