State, federal officials launch effort to identify offshore sand

State, federal officials launch effort to identify offshore sand for replenishment

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New Jersey will partner with the federal government in an effort to identify offshore sand resources that can be used in future beach replenishment and Shore protection projects.

The state Department of Environmental Protection on Monday announced that it would partner with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for a $400,000 federally funded study to identify sand resources offshore that can be tapped for future beach restoration and resiliency projects.

The plan, officials said, is to "analyze the state's existing data to identify sand resources in federal waters in the Outer Continental Shelf that can be used for coastal restoration projects in New Jersey," including projects that are slated to begin over the course of the next two years.

The locations where sand is sucked from the ocean bottom and pumped ashore for beach replenishment projects are known as donor sites, and are selected based on surveys that have been conducted dating back to the 1990's. Project specifications for replenishment projects normally call for the sand from the donor sites to match the grain size and quality of the sand that naturally occurs on beaches in order to maintain a stable beachfront.

The latest effort will be aimed at confirming previously identified resources and locating new potential areas of sand resources, the DEP said. The federal government will help New Jersey develop tools to more readily share sand resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resiliency planning.

The New Jersey Geological and Water Survey will specifically work on assessing sand resources offshore of Monmouth and northern Ocean counties.


By: Daniel Nee (Patch Editor)

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