BOEM, Jacksonville, U.S. Army Corps Ink Shore Protection Deal
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signed an agreement with the City of Jacksonville, Fla., and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing them to dredge nearly 1.4 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for periodic renourishment of the Duval County shoreline. The shore protection project, using sand from the seafloor of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), will restore a 10-mile stretch of coast between the St. Johns River entrance and the Duval County/St. Johns County boundary along the Atlantic Ocean. Dredging is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.
“BOEM is pleased to support the City of Jacksonville with this restoration project,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “Local communities and wildlife will benefit as the renourishment with OCS sand helps to reduce coastal erosion, limit deterioration of sea turtle and shorebird nesting habitat, and reduce the likelihood and frequency of increased property and storm damage along the coastline,” Hopper said.
The last nourishment cycle took place in 2011; subsequent storm activity, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012, has eroded an average of 160,000 cubic yards per year from the Duval County shoreline. Shore protection projects were first authorized in Duval County in 1965, and have taken place periodically since then.
Local beaches to be renourished extend from the St. Johns River to Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach on the southern edge. The sediment will be dredged from Duval Shoal S, a borrow site approximately six nautical miles from the placement area.
"We are pleased to partner with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Duval County, and the City of Jacksonville to continue our efforts protecting the shorelines of Duval County," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Jason Harrah. "Nourished beaches provide substantial storm protection and produce key benefits - including recreational, environmental, and economic. This multi-agency agreement provides a safeguard for Northeast Florida's coastal communities and benefits the overall region."
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is also supporting this project.
BOEM has the authority to convey OCS sand resources for shore protection, beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by a federal, state or local government, and for use in construction projects funded in whole or part, or authorized by the Federal government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.
BOEM has invested more than $40 million over the past 20 years to identify non-energy resources on the OCS, conduct world-class scientific research, and lease OCS resources to coastal communities and other Federal agencies in need. Information from environmental research and resource identification has informed environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration.