New Jersey beach restoration projects are both extensive and expensive. The state has spent $852 million in beach nourishment projects in the past 75 years, hauling 158 million cubic feet of sand from the ocean and back onto the shore.
But a big worry of proponents of beach replenishment is that existing sources of high-quality sand are being depleted and thus will become even more costly.
To offset this problem, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signed an agreement with the state for a $400,000 federally funded study to identify sand resources offshore that can be tapped for future beach restoration and resiliency projects.
The research effort will 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 a series of projects to be done over the next two years by the Army Corps of Engineers to help coastal communities recover from superstorm Sandy, restore habitat, and contribute to long-term coastal resiliency.
BOEM also will help New Jersey develop tools to more readily share sand-resource data with other agencies involved in coastal resiliency planning.