WASHINGTON, D.C. – The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, is inviting the public to comment on its recently published draft environmental assessment for surveys to identify, map, monitor and research sand resources in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf regions.
The deadline to comment on the draft assessment is midnight, Sept. 10.
BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program is responsible for managing non-energy minerals, mainly sand and gravel, for use in coastal resiliency and storm damage reduction projects, including beach nourishment and coastal restoration. The agency says it must carefully manage sand and gravel resources used to replenish eroded beaches, conserve sensitive wildlife areas and restore barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms, including protection for inland areas.
“This project is in response to the critical coastal and dune erosion that occurred due to effects from Hurricane Sandy,” according to the document released Friday. In the wake of the 2012 storm, BOEM received millions in disaster relief and coastal resiliency funding to conduct the proposed research.
The proposed offshore sand surveys would be part of a plan to provide compatible resources to multiple federal and state agencies and localities to help protect infrastructure, respond to emergencies and rebuild parkland, wildlife refuges and habitat.
The potential study area is from the state or federal boundary to about 164-foot depths offshore from Maine to Texas. Certain areas would be excluded, such as Cape Cod Bay and marine protected areas.
The sand surveys would generally examine the top 20 feet of the sea floor and do not involve the use of air guns. The technology includes sub-bottom profilers; multi-beam or interferometric swath bathymetry; side scan sonar or acoustic backscatter from multi-beam or interferometric bathymetry; magnetometers; and vibracore or grab sampling to collect sediment samples.
Comments may be submitted in the following ways:
- Electronically, to Deena Hanson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hand or mail delivery, in an envelope addressed to: Deena Hansen, Office of Environmental Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 760 Paseo Camarillo, Suite 102, Camarillo, CA 93010.