BOEM to Provide Sand Resources for Florida Beaches Replenishment (USA)

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a Record of Decision outlining a negotiated agreement for the future use of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand resources to replenish Hutchinson Island, Florida, following storm-induced wave impacts and coastal erosion.

The bureau issued the Notice of Availability for the Record of Decision, which outlines the parameters of the negotiated agreement between BOEM, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Martin County Board of Commissioners. The Martin County, Florida, Hurricane Storm Damage Reduction (HSDR) Project will nourish four miles of beach using a sea-turtle friendly design template. The project area consists of Hutchinson Island, an elongated barrier island approximately 24 miles long and only a mile wide, and the inner shelf area offshore the island.

The Record of Decision summarizes the alternatives considered by the bureau, BOEM’s decision, the basis for the decision, the environmentally preferable alternative, required mitigation steps, and the process the USACE and BOEM undertook to involve the public and other federal and state agencies. The next step in the process will be the signing of the negotiated agreement that will authorize the use of the OCS sand resources to replenish Hutchinson Island.

BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program provides OCS sand resources that help reduce the effects of erosion and storms and preserve the nation’s shoreline,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “We are pleased to work with communities like Martin County to restore and protect its coastal environment and affected wildlife.”

BOEM is the Department of the Interior agency tasked with managing the extraction of offshore minerals from America’s OCS. As steward for these resources, BOEM ensures that the removal of any mineral resources is done in a safe and environmentally sound manner, and that any potential adverse impacts to the marine, coastal and/or human environments are avoided or minimized.

Florida’s barrier island beaches need regular replenishment because of frequent storms and the everyday force of waves and currents. The Martin County HSDR Project was proposed to provide storm damage protection to structures that would otherwise be threatened by chronic shoreline retreat and storm-induced erosion. These protected areas will in turn provide and maintain an area more suitable for recreation and wildlife.

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Dredging Today Staff, April 27, 2012;

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