USA: BOEM, Corps and NJDEP Join Forces in Coastal Restoration
As 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) announced an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Philadelphia District, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), for the use of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand to complete construction of the ongoing Storm Damage Reduction project on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
Under this agreement, BOEM authorizes the Corps to excavate up to 7 million cubic yards of sand from Federally managed waters approximately 3 to 4 miles offshore Long Beach Island. The sand will be placed along 11.5 miles of shoreline between Barnegat Inlet and Little Egg Inlet in the previously unconstructed portions of the project. This work will build upon previous beachfill operations that utilized sand sources from New Jersey state waters. Construction is expected to begin in late 2014.
This project was authorized for construction by the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000), and was partially constructed before Hurricane Sandy affected the New Jersey shoreline. Under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, Congress authorized the Corps to complete the construction of the project and appropriated the additional funding.
The beachfill construction is designed to reduce storm damages to property and infrastructure that is vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes, nor’easters, and long term erosion. In addition, the project will help to maintain recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat along the Long Beach Island beach areas.
“This agreement reflects BOEM’s continuing commitment to work with New Jersey to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and enhance resilience efforts for the future,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “We are committed to continue working in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms.”
Since Hurricane Sandy struck, BOEM has been working with the Corps, other members of the Federal government’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force, state coastal planning agencies, state geological surveys and other entities to analyze the needs for coastal restoration and to develop restoration plans.
BOEM has the authority to convey, on a noncompetitive basis, the rights to resources for shore protection, beach or wetland restoration projects, or for use in construction projects funded in whole or part, or authorized by the Federal government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.
Over the past 20 years, BOEM has invested more than $30 million to identify non-energy resources on the OCS, conduct world-class scientific research, and lease OCS resources to coastal communities 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.
Press Release, July 3, 2014; Image: BOEM