BOEM advances Atlantic coastal preparedness and resilience with surveys to identify new offshore sand resources

Last edited 09/05/2019
Contact Information

Contact: Marjorie Weisskohl (BOEM),, (703) 787-1304

To help states, coastal communities and federal partners meet future sand needs for coastal restoration and infrastructure protection projects, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is sponsoring a $5 million project to identify and assess new potential sand resources offshore from Florida to Maine.

Knowing the location, composition and potential volume of available offshore sand resources is critical to being prepared for future storms. To bolster preparedness and strengthen resilience, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is using a portion of Hurricane Sandy recovery funds to identify new offshore sand resources, which in many cases will help states implement a regional approach to sand management. In 2015, BOEM began the Atlantic Sand Assessment Project (ASAP) to survey and evaluate Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sand resources within areas with little or no existing data from 3 to 8 nautical miles offshore from Florida to Maine. A follow-up site-specific survey is planned for 2016 to further identify a few select areas that can serve as future sand borrow sites. BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program will integrate the data collected from the ASAP and through state agreements with the historical data it has gathered over the past 20-plus years into a comprehensive database of OCS sand resources. The knowledge gleaned from this database will enable BOEM to support ongoing coastal resilience planning and provide OCS resources for emergency and long-term restoration more quickly than would be possible without updated data.
Before beginning the ASAP, BOEM completed an environmental assessment that described and evaluated the potential environmental impacts related to reasonably foreseeable geophysical and geological surveys off the Atlantic Coast. BOEM consulted with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service regarding potential environmental impacts on threatened or endangered species, such as sea turtles and whales, and essential fish habitat. BOEM considered impacts to fishing areas, spawning and feeding grounds and evaluated the importance of these areas to the recreational or commercial fishing communities as high value resources. BOEM’s partnerships with agencies such the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA and the Navy help protect valuable infrastructure—whether beach and dune reconstruction to shield public roads and bridges, NASA launch pads or Navy installations—from coastal flooding, waves, wind and erosion. 


More information: 

Marine Minerals Program Fact Sheet

Atlantic Sand Assessment Fact Sheet

Environmental Assessment

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