Draft EA Released on Offshore Sand Surveys

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate potential environmental impacts related to sand survey activities in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) regions.

The proposed offshore sand surveys are be conducted as part of BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program (MMP), which under the OCS Lands Act is responsible for managing minerals (primarily sand and gravel) for use in coastal resiliency and storm damage reduction projects, including beach nourishment and coastal restoration.

According to BOEM, the EA provides an analysis to determine whether significant impacts on Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico resources could occur because of the proposed sand survey activities and specifies mitigation measures that would be implemented to avoid or minimize impacts to physical, biological or social/cultural resources.

The potential study area is from the state/federal boundary to 50 meter depths offshore from Maine to Texas, with Cape Cod Bay excluded, as well as marine protected areas, such as Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The deadline for sending comments on the draft EA is September 10, 2018 (Eastern time).