Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Carteret County, North Carolina, have signed an agreement to provide up to two million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for the towns of Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, and unincorporated Salter Path. The project is part of the county’s fifty-year Bogue Banks Master Beach and Inlet Management Plan. BOEM and the county modified an existing planned agreement for a nourishment project on Bogue Banks set for the winter of 2018-2019 to include the impacts of Hurricane Florence, which hit the state in September 2018.
“BOEM stands ready to assist coastal communities whose beaches experience erosion from storms such as Hurricane Florence. We know how important these beaches are to the local economy,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank.
BOEM has the authority to convey OCS sand resources for shore protection and beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by a federal, state or local government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.
BOEM has invested more than $40 million over the past 25 years 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. Information from environmental research and resource identification has informed environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration.
“Hurricane Florence was the storm of record for Carteret County and the beaches are our main flood defense and the linchpin of our tourism economy,” said Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, Carteret County Shore Protection Manager. “It was fortuitous we were already working with BOEM to secure a sand and gravel lease for a beach nourishment project. We were able to modify our plans in short order, and now look forward to the start of construction of this very important project this spring.”
The project will reclaim dredged navigation material from the Morehead City Harbor Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS), portions of which lie in federal waters, to renourish approximately 5.2 miles of beach.
Material is periodically placed in the ODMDS following navigation dredging. Material that has beach quality characteristics is placed in a separate portion of the ODMDS from material that is not suitable for beach placement. This makes the material suitable for beaches available for future use. Dredging is expected to begin in early spring 2019.
BOEM provided access to material in the Morehead City Harbor ODMDS for the 2013 coastal restoration of Emerald Isle and Pine Knoll Shores following Hurricane Irene.
This project will return material to the nearshore system that was previously removed from the harbor navigation channel during channel maintenance dredging. It will help address sand deficits caused by erosion and storms such as Hurricane Florence, fortify the coast against future storm impacts, and restore habitat for shorebirds and nesting sea turtles.
To meet its stewardship responsibilities, BOEM, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), analyzed impacts in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared by a third-party contractor for the county in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). BOEM and USACE completed all necessary consultations for the project, including those relating to endangered species, essential fish habitat, and the National Historic Preservation Act. The county secured a Coastal Zone Management consistency determination, among other state and federal permits. The final EIS and related documents are available on BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program North Carolina project page.
For more information about BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program, visit the website, http://www.boem.gov/Marine-Minerals-Program/. Follow us also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels.