BOEM, ECU Ink Agreement to Evaluate North Carolina Sand Resources

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 East Carolina University, located in North Carolina, signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 to evaluate sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning.

The cooperative effort will enable BOEM, East Carolina University (ECU) and its partners to conduct research that will assist coastal communities recovering from storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Under this agreement, scientists from ECU and the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC CSI) will work with the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management and Geodynamics LLC to evaluate and consolidate existing geological and geophysical data offshore North Carolina. These data will be used to identify and locate potential areas of sand resources, as well as benthic habitat, with the overall goal of having available geologic and benthic habitat resources data accessible for planners and managers.

ECU, UNC CSI and its partners will reanalyze existing data in northeastern North Carolina (north of Cape Hatteras) to develop a revised evaluation of sand resources with the newest available information. Areas for future resource surveys will also be identified.

“This agreement demonstrates BOEM’s commitment to work with North Carolina to help coastal communities recover from storms like Hurricane Sandy and enhance 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.”

Following Hurricane Irene, BOEM authorized the use of sand resources in federal waters to restore 7.1 miles of shoreline in Bogue Banks, North Carolina in 2012.

We thank BOEM and the federal government for supporting North Carolina’s effort to identify sand resources along its shores,” said J.P. Walsh, an Associate Professor from ECU and UNC CSI. “Many coastal communities were impacted by Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms, and these areas are critically important ecologically and economically. This funding will help inform communities as they work towards coastal resilience and restoration.”

“The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management is excited to be working with East Carolina University and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to perform this greatly-needed assessment of sand resources in North Carolina,” said Braxton Davis, Director of the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. “This project will help improve our understanding of the quality and quantity of sand deposits offshore of North Carolina for use by local governments and the state in planning future coastal storm damage reduction projects.”

BOEM scientists will assist ECU in identifying areas to study for future geophysical and geological surveys, with the purpose of confirming previously identified resources and locating new potential areas of sand resources. BOEM will also help North Carolina develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resilience planning.

Press Release, August 6, 2014

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