BOEM and Massachusetts to evaluate sand resources

News - July 29, 2014

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As a part of President Obama’s continuing commitment to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and promote resilient coastal systems, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have signed a two-year cooperative agreement totaling US$200,000 to evaluate sand resources.

The cooperative effort will enable BOEM and Massachusetts to conduct research that will increase their knowledge of coastal geology and contribute to long-term coastal resilience planning efforts.

Under the agreement, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will obtain baseline onshore coastal geologic data which is required when evaluating potential offshore sand resources. The study will also integrate information from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to evaluate coastal needs to best determine offshore areas for further study. BOEM will also help Massachusetts develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resilience planning.

“This agreement demonstrates BOEM’s commitment to partner with Massachusetts to help coastal communities enhance coastal resilience efforts for the future,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “We are committed to continuing to work in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms.”   

Assistant Professor Jon Woodruff at University Massachusetts Amherst and state geologist Stephen Mabee, with a team of students and technicians, will lead the three-part study that will include surface sampling, surveying beach profiles and taking deep core samples in back barrier marshes and coastal ponds behind dunes.

“This is the first, necessary step toward coming up with a plan for dealing with some hard issues related to coastal erosion,” Woodruff said. The public beaches included in this study were identified by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management as beaches in “critical need of assessment,” he added.

“Many have sensitive and important infrastructure behind them, such as roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants and harbours.”

 

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