USA: North Carolina Completes Restoration Program
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the completion of a project to stabilize and restore the ecological functions of the Emerald Isle and Pine Knoll Shores shorelines on Bogue Banks island, North Carolina, which were damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
BOEM and Carteret County signed an agreement in December 2012 that authorized up to 1 million cubic yards of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand from the Morehead City Offshore Dredged Material Disposal Site for the Carteret County Shore Protection and Restoration Project. The purpose of the project is to restore sand volumes and elevations on the beach; provide future storm protection; and reduce future potential storm damages to the beach, protective berm, adjacent infrastructure, and coastal structures along the approximate seven miles of project shoreline. Bogue Banks is about 25 miles long.
“BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program provides OCS sand resources that help reduce the effects of erosion and storms, as well as preserve and protect our shorelines,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “We are pleased to work with communities like Carteret County to restore and protect its coastal environment.”
On August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout, N.C., about nine miles east of Bogue Banks, a barrier island separating the Croatan National Forest and marshlands from the ocean. Following the storm, the federal government declared a disaster in Carteret County. The storm’s major impacts included oceanfront beach erosion on the Pine Knoll Shores and Emerald Isle shorelines, and damage to essential nesting habitat for sea turtles.
Long-term monitoring from beach and inshore surveys since the late 1990s has been used to track changes to the coastline over time. Knowledge of the beach conditions before Hurricane Irene struck was used to develop the strategy for the Bogue Banks Restoration Project.
In addition to overseeing and regulating conventional and renewable energy development on the OCS, BOEM manages non-energy minerals obtained from the ocean floor on the OCS, including sand, gravel and shell resources for coastal restoration and protection. BOEM has the authority to convey, on a noncompetitive basis, the rights to these resources for shore, beach or wetland restoration projects or for use in construction projects funded in whole or part, or authorized by the federal government. In implementing this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity. Prior to signing an agreement, BOEM works with other federal agencies to conduct extensive technical and environmental reviews of the project to mitigate potential adverse impacts to the marine, coastal and human environments.
To date, BOEM has conveyed rights to about 73 million cubic yards of OCS sand for 38 coastal restoration projects in six states. These projects have resulted in the restoration of approximately 202 miles of coastline, protecting billions of dollars of infrastructure, as well as important ecological habitat. The bureau has also spent more than $30 million on world-class scientific research that informs environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration.
Press Release, April 14, 2013