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 state of Florida signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling $200,000 to evaluate sand resources for coastal resilience and restoration planning.
In addition, the agreement will help Florida address future storm impacts and the effects those impacts may have on the state’s limited coastal sand resources.
Using part of the $13.6 million allocated to BOEM through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the Florida cooperative agreement is the13th BOEM has entered into this year in a series of partnerships with coastal Atlantic states or state institutions. Collectively, the research funded through the cooperative agreements will help to evaluate sand and gravel resources that are appropriate for coastal protection and restoration along the entire Atlantic OCS.
“This agreement demonstrates BOEM’s commitment to work with Florida 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 continuing to work in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms and address the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, which challenge coastal areas.“
Under this agreement, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Division of Water Resource Management will modernize the department’s Reconnaissance Offshore Sand Search/Offshore Sand Search Inventory (ROSS/OSSI) database. The modernization will include updating the ROSS/OSSI webpage by installing a secure, direct upload interface for data submittals from the private sector. This will improve data security for federal and regional data sites and simplify connectivity for database users. Other enhancements will incorporate existing offshore data, such as potential areas of sand resources and benthic habitat. The overall goal is to have available geologic and benthic habitat resource data accessible for planners and managers.
In addition, the FDEP Florida Geological Survey (FGS) will complete an analysis of existing data previously collected offshore of selected Florida Atlantic counties, including the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
“This cooperative agreement shows the level of commitment from both federal and state agencies to regional sediment management and storm recovery practices in order to protect more than 200 miles of Florida’s managed beaches from the impacts of storms such as Hurricane Sandy,” said Danielle Irwin, Deputy Director of DEP’s Division of Water Resource Management.
BOEM scientists will assist Florida in identifying areas where additional scientific data is needed to confirm previously identified sand and locate new sand resources. BOEM will also help Florida develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resilience planning. Such activities are essential for reducing potential storm damage to the residents, economies and infrastructure of Florida’s coast. The Florida DEP and BOEM have worked together on sand resource projects since 1994.