The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District.
The agreement will be a key component in support of the long-term recovery of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and other storms.
This project will take up to 19.6 million cubic yards of sand from ten Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) locations – the largest volume of OCS sand conveyed by BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program to date – to restore Ship Island within the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi, which is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS).
This scheme will directly benefit the Mississippi coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, increasing resiliency against damage from future storms, BOEM said.
In addition to facilitating recovery from past hurricane impacts, this project will also make great strides to supplement a deficit in the coastal sand resources, mitigating for past navigational dredging and sand disposal activities that altered sediment availability and transport along the barrier islands.
“BOEM is pleased to cooperate with the Army Corps of Engineers on this extensive project, which will improve the resilience of Mississippi Gulf Coast barrier islands and the coastal ecosystem for the people of Mississippi to enjoy for decades to come,” said Acting BOEM Director Walter Cruickshank.
This initial project plan assumed that borrow areas would be available within the immediate project area.
The project design team determined that using nearshore sand resources would compromise the integrity of the active coastal system and project area, and cost and environmental evaluations concluded that OCS sand resources would be needed to provide sufficient quantities to achieve project goals.