BOEM: Evaluation of Sand for Future Coastal Resilience

Construction at NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility

As a part of President Obama’s continuing commitment to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and promote resilient coastal systems, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 to evaluate sand resources.

The cooperative effort will enable BOEM and Massachusetts to conduct research that will increase their knowledge of coastal geology and contribute to long-term coastal resilience planning efforts.

Under this agreement, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will obtain baseline onshore coastal geologic data which is required when evaluating potential offshore sand resources. The study will also integrate information from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to evaluate coastal needs to best determine offshore areas for further study.

BOEM will also help Massachusetts develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resilience planning.

This agreement demonstrates BOEM’s commitment to partner with Massachusetts to help coastal communities enhance coastal resilience efforts for the future,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “We are committed to continuing to work in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms.”

BOEM, Massachusetts Sign Agreement on Evaluating Sand Resources: The two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 will increase their knowledge of coastal geology and contribute to long-term coastal resilience planning efforts.

Massachusetts coastAssistant Professor Jon Woodruff at University Massachusetts Amherst and state geologist Stephen Mabee, with a team of students and technicians, will lead the three-part study that will include surface sampling, surveying beach profiles and taking deep core samples in back barrier marshes and coastal ponds behind dunes.

This is the first, necessary step toward coming up with a plan for dealing with some hard issues related to coastal erosion,” Woodruff said. “The public beaches included in this study were identified by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management as beaches in “critical need of assessment,” he added. “Many have sensitive and important infrastructure behind them, such as roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants and harbors.”

These activities are essential to reduce potential storm damage to the residents, economies, and infrastructure of Massachusetts’s coastal areas. Research funded under this agreement will help ensure that activities including offshore dredging and beach nourishment are conducted in a sustainable manner that is compatible with natural sediment transport and biological processes, as well as stakeholder interests.

This agreement is part of a series of partnerships with coastal Atlantic states using part of the $13.6 million allocated to BOEM through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The research will help to identify sand and gravel resources that are appropriate for coastal protection and restoration along the entire Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).


Press Release, July 25, 2014

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