One of the major catalysts leading to the creation of a national offshore sand inventory was the funding of the Atlantic Sand Assessment Project (ASAP) in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The purpose was to help coastal communities and states plan for the future by having better data on offshore sand resources.
BOEM funded offshore surveys in 2015 and 2016 to identify new sources of sand in federal waters from Miami, Florida to Massachusetts. Surveys took place from 3 to 8 nautical miles offshore, collecting bathymetry, side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiles, and magnetometer data.
Based on the results of the geophysical surveys, BOEM later collected geological samples (vibracores and grab samples) in key locations to characterize sediment grain size and composition. The geological and geophysical research identified and sampled new potential sand resources at the reconnaissance level. BOEM is conducting additional design level surveys in the mid-Atlantic in 2017 to further characterize promising resources. The ASAP was limited, however, collecting data from approximately five percent of offshore sand, gravel or shell resources.