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BOEM and USACE sign agreement on restoration of Mississippi Barrier Island

Environmental Issues // January 17, 2017

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between BOEM and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District.

The agreement will be a key component in support of the long-term recovery of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and other storms. This project will take up to 19.6 million cubic yards of sand from ten Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) locations - the largest volume of OCS sand conveyed by BOEM’s Marine Minerals Program to date - to restore Ship Island within the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi, which is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS).

The project will directly benefit the Mississippi coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson, increasing resiliency against damage from future storms. In addition to facilitating recovery from past hurricane impacts, this project will also make great strides to supplement a deficit in the coastal sand resources,  mitigating for past navigational dredging and sand disposal activities that altered sediment availability and transport along the barrier islands.

“BOEM is pleased to cooperate with the Army Corps of Engineers on this extensive project, which will improve the resilience of Mississippi Gulf Coast barrier islands and the coastal ecosystem for the people of Mississippi to enjoy for decades to come,” said Acting BOEM Director Walter Cruickshank.

This initial project plan assumed that borrow areas would be available within the immediate project area. However, the project design team determined that using nearshore sand resources would compromise the integrity of the active coastal system and project area, and cost and environmental evaluations concluded that OCS sand resources would be needed to provide sufficient quantities to achieve project goals.

The USACE requested BOEM to authorize use of OCS sand to implement the project and signed a Record of Decision (ROD) in June 2016. BOEM developed a ROD which was signed in September 2016 and published in the Federal Register.

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