Four years after Hurricane Sandy, BOEM and state partners release new reports outlining Atlantic offshore sand resources for coastal restoration

BOEM and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory dedicate new sand core repository and database at world-renown research institution

10-24-2016 WASHINGTON, DC

Contacts: Marjorie Weisskohl
703-787-1304

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is pleased to announce the completion of several major initiatives undertaken with Hurricane Sandy emergency funding. They include updated maps and consolidated databases related to offshore sediment resources, made possible through cooperative agreements between BOEM and 13 Atlantic states from Florida to Maine in 2014. The second major accomplishment is the opening of the Atlantic Sand Assessment Project (ASAP) core storage repository at the world-renown Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University’s campus in Palisades, New York.

The core collection and extensive new database are the result of the BOEM-funded Hurricane Sandy initiative to create a new inventory of potential offshore sediment resources in Federal waters in the Atlantic. The project involved collecting, analyzing and cataloging 160 sediment cores offshore 11 East Coast states from Miami, Florida, to Massachusetts beginning in 2015. The core analysis provides important information on thickness of sediment layers, composition of sediment layers, organic material content, and overall compatibility with beach sands.

“The completion of these activities marks great progress for BOEM, our state and academic partners and others concerned with coastal and wetland restoration and resilience planning,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “BOEM remains committed to maintaining an active dialogue with our coastal partners to help them plan for and respond to changes on the coast.”

BOEM has invested more than $40 million over the past 20 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.

The cooperative agreement reports are available at the Marine Minerals Program’s revamped website, http://www.boem.gov/MMP-in-Your-State/, and will be presented at the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference from October 26-28 in Long Branch, New Jersey. BOEM recently executed a second round of cooperative agreements that extend until 2018 to build on the first phase. Coastal managers, scientists and others will be able to access the physical core samples and the new data, which will be shared through Lamont’s System for Earth Sample Registration (SESAR) at http://www.geosamples.org/. Users may type in “set name/igsn” and “BOEM” to search the collection. Ultimately, the full set of ASAP metadata will be accessible through Lamont’s main database, the Index to Marine and Lacustrine Geological Samples (IMGLS) housed in the National Center of Environmental Information database.

"The cores collected by BOEM for the Atlantic Sand Assessment Project are an invaluable addition to the repository and we are pleased to be able to be a part of this important endeavor," said Nichole Anest, Curator for the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository (LDCR)," which was established nearly 70 years ago. “LDCR contains one of the world’s most important and unique collections of scientific samples from the deep sea. This unique and unparalleled facility has evolved from the scientific collection of a small number of scientists to the present-day repository which serves the national and international earth science community,”Anest added.

In 2013, BOEM received $13.6 million for Hurricane Sandy response under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, and in 2016, an additional $2.7 million to address critical needs for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand throughout the areas undergoing recovery and rebuilding. BOEM has used approximately $6 million of these funds for the cooperative agreements, to determine future sand needs, conduct coastal resiliency studies and OCS sand resource evaluations, and supplement broad scale environmental monitoring. Other activities have included outreach to affected communities through regional sand management working groups and other entities to engage in dialogue about their needs.

The mission of BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program is to facilitate access to and manage the Nation’s OCS non-energy marine minerals, particularly sand and gravel, through environmentally responsible stewardship of resources, prudent assessments of exploration and leasing activities, coordination with governmental partners, engagement of stakeholders, strategic planning, and mission-focused scientific research to improve decision-making and risk management.

BOEM has the authority to convey sand resources from the OCS for shore protection, beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by a federal, state or local government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.

For more information about BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program, visit the website, http://www.boem.gov/Marine-Minerals-Program/. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels.