Feds to restore NJ beaches with offshore sand

The federal government has agreed to help New Jersey restore a stretch of beaches damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 by moving sand from the continental shelf to the shore.

Under the agreement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to take up to 7 million cubic yards of sand that is three to four miles from New Jersey’s coast and use it to restore 11.5 miles of beaches in the southern part of the state, the agencies announced Thursday.

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BOEM controls the outer continental shelf — usually for energy production purposes, but it can also coordinate projects such as the one unveiled Thursday.

“This agreement reflects BOEM’s continuing commitment to work with New Jersey to help coastal communities recover from Hurricane Sandy and enhance resilience efforts for the future,” BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank said in a statement. “We are committed to continue working in a collaborative manner to help local communities withstand damage from future storms.”

The beach reconstruction on Long Beach Island is primarily meant to help protect property and infrastructure from future disasters and erosion. It also will help recreational beach uses and wildlife habitats, BOEM said.