New BOEM Report Projects Future OCS Sand Resource Needs
In recent years, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Marine Minerals Program (MMP) has seen an increase in both the number of requests and volume of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sediment for coastal restoration projects. This is largely driven by diminishing resources in state waters, the frequency and magnitude of storms along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and new infrastructure projects.
To help prepare for and meet future sand resource needs out to about 2027, MMP funded a study entitled “Projected OCS Sand Resource Needs and Effort.” The report outlines several possible scenarios to help estimate future need and the research required to meet the demand.
The study compiled coastal project data from many different sources, including but not limited to, publicly available databases, project reports, and online permits. BOEM recognizes there are data gaps to be filled through future coordination at the local level, and there is inherent uncertainty when projecting where future major storms will hit and cause an increase in demand. The report reached three major conclusions, however: more states will turn to OCS sediment resources as in-state resources become scarcer, the volumes requested will be larger to support increasing coastal resilience measures, and there is a critical need for BOEM to continue identifying additional OCS sand resources.
The report will support BOEM’s development of a National Offshore Sand Inventory. It will be useful in concentrating limited resources where the greatest need is expected, identifying areas where the greatest volume may be needed and where the data are limited, and in avoiding conflicts with other activities on the seafloor, such as oil and gas pipeline access and offshore wind energy planning.
Potential follow-on studies would attempt to close many of these data gaps and refine the forecast to improve its usefulness to coastal managers.
BOEM remains committed to continuously identifying stakeholders and improving engagement in a complex and changing ocean resource environment.
For more information about the Marine Minerals Program, see: https://www.boem.gov/Marine-Minerals-Program/.