BOEM And American Fisheries Council To Host Meeting On Offshore Sand Habitat

Release Date
Red drum following capture
Red drum from Southeast Shoal off Cape Canaveral
and its habitat will be among the fishes studied with
BOEM Hurricane Sandy environmental funds tied
to coastal restoration projects.
Photo by Eric Reyier, Kennedy Space Center
Ecological Program.


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is sponsoring a meeting focused on understanding and maintaining habitat values of offshore shoals on the outer continental shelf (OCS) on Friday, January 24, 2014, in Charleston, S.C. Offshore shoals are commonly proposed for use in coastal restoration projects.  

BOEM's objectives for the meeting are to (1) foster collaboration among interested parties and stakeholders in identifying the habitat value and function of these ridge/swale and shoal complexes on the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico OCS; (2) discuss current scientific understanding of the habitat uniqueness, value and function of these geographic features; and (3) identify future study needs and opportunities.   

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society Spring Meeting. The bureau's environmental work is an integral part of supporting BOEM's Marine Minerals Program, which authorizes the use of OCS sand and gravel resources in coastal restoration projects.  

Those interested in attending must register for one-day admission to the conference, although there is no additional cost to attend the working group. Alternatively, there will be a webinar of the meeting to facilitate remote attendance. See below for registration and fee information or how to access the webinar. 

Spot_fish from northeast Florida
Spot,Leiostomus xanthurus, a common fish
at a shoal offshore northeast Florida

BOEM and Normandeau Environmental Consultants are working together to prepare a white paper entitled "Understanding the Habitat Value and Function of Shoal/Ridge/Trough Complexes to Fish and Fisheries on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf."     

The white paper addresses the current knowledge of the habitat value and function of the various sand features, how the physical environment relates to the structure and function of these features, and the biological environment associated with these complexes. The draft white paper will be available for review prior to the meeting and will be critical to our discussion during the meeting. Utilizing the working group discussions and comments, we will revise the paper and send out the final compilation to all participants. See below for details on how to obtain a copy of the draft white paper.   

The working group consists of representatives of state and federal agencies, researchers, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders that are committed to identifying the information most relevant to resolving questions about the habitat value and the factors affecting it so that good management decisions can be made.

  • What: BOEM Working Group @ the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society Meeting
  • Date & Time: January 24 2014, approximate 8:30 AM - 5 PM
  • Where: Francis Marion Hotel, 387 King Street, Charleston, SC, 29403. Tel: (843) 722-0600
  • For information on registration and fees: click here

To participate in the webinar and/or to receive a copy of the draft white paper, please contact:

To learn more about BOEM's Marine Minerals Program and related environmental studies and assessments, click here.

About the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resource.