Research and Studies

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) established policy for managing the OCS leasing program and the protection of marine and coastal environments. 

The Marine Minerals Program has utilized four types of research:

BOEM analysts use the information obtained from these studies to evaluate the effects of specific proposed dredging operations, as required under current environmental laws. The results are incorporated, as appropriate, into lease requirements and stipulations for the dredging of OCS sand, gravel or other mineral material. Environmental studies may be found on BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program Information System (ESPIS), which now displays reports with new geo-referencing tools, animation and other new features.

Marine Minerals Resource Evaluation cover    Marine Minerals Studies cover    ESPIS    Ocean Science

BOEM must wisely manage OCS marine mineral resources to maximize long term use while ensuring that environmental damage to the marine and coastal environment is avoided, minimized, or mitigated. BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program science strategy focuses on integrating the resource evaluation data provided through state/Federal cooperative efforts with environmental studies information. This strategy  recognizes the importance of identifying suitable OCS sand deposits and describes past, ongoing, and future environmental studies investments needed to make informed decisions regarding the use of Federal mineral resources for future beach nourishment or wetlands restoration activities.

Based on the current data needs identified in past assessments and input received through coordination with stakeholders, the MMP proposes and conducts environmental studies to support the following principal areas of focus:

  • Identify and fill data gaps on resources of concern in advance of project implementation to inform NEPA and other relevant consultation documents and avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate impacts accordingly.
  • Contribute to strategic stakeholder engagement and regional partnering initiatives to identify and implement effective resource management strategies.
  • Utilize data associated with regional geological and geophysical (G&G) investigations of potential sediment resource areas to support programmatic consultations within the Atlantic and GOM OCS in order to more strategically manage impacts.

Since 1992, BOEM has invested about $40 million to identify non-energy resources on the OCS, conduct world-class scientific research, and lease OCS resources to coastal communities and other Federal agencies in need.