Feds Give OK To Using Sand Far Offshore For Barrier Island

HOUMA, LA (AP) — A federal agency has approved using sand stored in a shoal nine miles off the coast for a barrier island restoration project that uses funds BP gave Louisiana to restore its ecosystem following the catastrophic 2010 oil spill.

         The Courier’s Keith Magill reports that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week authorized the state to take up to 13.4 million cubic yards of sand from Ship Shoal. The shoal lies nine miles offshore in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf.

         The sand will be pumped through a temporary pipeline to the project site to construct about 1,100 acres of marsh, dune and beach on Whiskey Island.

         The project's money comes from a $1 billion payment BP made to Louisiana in anticipation of fines after its Gulf of Mexico spill.

         Whiskey Island is one of four large sandbars that once formed a single stretch called the Isles Dernieres, just off Terrebonne's central coast. But the coast has eroded badly because of wave action and Gulf of Mexico storms.

         The state agency plans to receive bids late this summer from contractors interested in doing the work.

         The federal agency has seen a significant increase in the use of sand from the Outer Continental Shelf for coastal restoration work in the Gulf and along the coast, including the $130 million Caminada Headland project now underway in Lafourche Parish.

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