The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced it has signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and St. Lucie County, Florida, that will lead to the restoration and protection of approximately 3.3 miles of Atlantic coastline.
The agreement gives the Army Corps access to 800,000 cubic yards of sand from federal waters just over 4 miles offshore St. Lucie County to rebuild the dunes and beaches on South Hutchinson Island, a barrier island. The work is part of the county’s ongoing Coastal Storm Risk Management Project.
“BOEM values the working relationships we have with the Army Corps of Engineers and coastal communities like St. Lucie County,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “By making resources like this available, BOEM seeks to help coastal communities deal with the effects of climate change such as increased frequency of storms and flooding as well as sea level rise.”
The Army Corps will reconstruct the eroded dunes and beaches along 3.3 miles of shoreline on the southernmost reach of South Hutchinson Island. Work is expected to begin on or after Nov. 1 and be completed by April 2022.
“The Jacksonville District appreciates our long and solid partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, District Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.
“It is reassuring that we can rely on support from BOEM in executing our missions to maintain and strengthen the coastal communities of Florida. BOEM has delivered time and again as a dependable resource manager to complement our district’s efforts to best preserve our coastlines,” said Kelly.
As the lead agency on the project, the Corps’ objectives are to reduce storm damage to property and infrastructure, including State Route A1A (a major hurricane evacuation route) within the project area; maintain environmental quality in the project area and adjacent areas for human and natural use, sea turtle habitat and aesthetics. Objectives over the 50-year analysis period also include maintaining recreational use of beach and nearshore areas for activities such as beach-going, surfing, fishing and wildlife viewing.
The shoreline protection plan is based on the county’s experience in previous storms and simulations of what the impact of future storms would be on existing homes, condos, businesses, roads and other property on the island.
We are excited about this great opportunity,” said St. Lucie County Erosion District Chair Frannie Hutchinson. “Not only will these sand resources be used for much needed storm damage protection, but they will also enhance St. Lucie County’s critically eroded sea turtle nesting habitat – a great win-win.” More frequent and powerful storms along the coastal United States coupled with sea level rise lead to greater demand for sand resources to restore and protect coastal communities and habitats. BOEM has the authority to convey Outer Continental Shelf sand resources for shoreline resiliency and beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by federal, state or local governments. The agency uses the findings of more than 30 years of scientific research to inform its leasing decisions.
For more information about BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program, visit the website, http://www.boem.gov/Marine-Minerals-Program/.
-- BOEM –
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.