The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has granted Dare County access to up to 6.6 million cubic yards of sand from the Outer Continental Shelf to restore 11.6 miles of beachfront in Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.
Set to begin next year, the project is part of Dare County’s long-term shoreline-management program to sustain and protect beachfront, is designed to protect local infrastructure and property, restore the beaches and prepare for more rapid recovery from storms, BOEM officials announced Friday.
“BOEM is proud to work with Dare County to provide valuable sand resources to improve coastal resilience, protect coastal infrastructure, and provide recreational opportunities for surrounding communities,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in a statement.
Beaches on the Outer Banks help drive the economy in Dare County, where the year-round population of 37,000 swells to 225,000 to 300,000 at times during summer months. Tourism and outdoor recreation account for $1.4 billion in direct spending in Dare County.
More frequent and powerful storms along the U.S. coast coupled with sea level rise have led to greater demand for offshore sand resources that can be used to restore and protect coastal communities and habitats.
BOEM is partnering with coastal communities like Dare County to address serious threats from erosion along the Nation’s coastal beaches, dunes, barrier islands and wetlands, the agency said.
BOEM has sole authority to convey outer continental shelf sand resources for shoreline resilience and beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by federal, state or local governments.
The final environmental assessment and related documents are available on BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program’s North Carolina project page.
For more information about the program, visit http://www.boem.gov/Marine-Minerals-Program/.