GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 13-9
Presentation Time: 10:25 AM


KNORR, Paul O., WALDNER, Jeffrey S., TURNER, Lora, BRANDT, Leighann and REIDENAUER, Jeffrey, Marine Minerals Program, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, VAM-LD, Sterling, VA 20166,

Increased development along the shorelines, driven by growing coastal populations, has led to urgent efforts to both maintain natural habitats and protect developed infrastructure. Beach nourishment places additional sand on beaches to provide enhanced shore protection. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Marine Minerals Program (BOEM MMP) is the steward of federal non-energy marine mineral resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The BOEM MMP manages and authorizes access to OCS sand and gravel resources, often working with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which typically manages storm protection projects. BOEM (and its predecessors) has executed over 50 OCS sand and gravel leases between 1995 and 2017, about half of which were issued in the wake of hurricanes to repair damage in preparation for future disasters. The average number of agreements has risen from 1/year to 3/year, largely a result of the depletion of nearshore sand resources. The average sand volume conveyed has also risen, from < 1 million cubic yards (mcy) per lease to > 5 mcy.

Hurricane Sandy acted as a clarion call for the value of resilient beaches. The additional funds provided post-storm allowed the MMP to establish a series of cooperative agreements with Atlantic coastal states that gathered and analyzed offshore sand resource data and quantified needs; collected over 4000 km of geophysical trackline and over 250 geologic samples; led to the development of a geospatial Marine Minerals Information System (MMIS) to manage the MMP’s diverse dataset; and funded a number of additional initiatives with state and university partners to better understand marine sediment systems. The MMP is currently engaging stakeholders to develop future guidelines for emergency post-disaster leases, to resolve need and use conflicts, and to manage the sustainability of OCS sand features.

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