This presentation is part of the Proceedings of the Maritime Cultural Landscape Symposium, October 14-15, 2015, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jimmy Moore: Thank you, Doug. I also appreciate Dana and also the National Park Service for giving BOEM this opportunity to come and explain our position for reaching out and letting us be a sponsor for this important event. My name is Jimmy Moore, I’m with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management or BOEM. Specifically I’m a Marine Archeologist in their office of Environmental Programs.
I guess today I can claim as a sort of anniversary of sorts for BOEM. Today we are exactly four years and two weeks old. I can say we are definitely the youngest of the agencies and partners that are being involved with this event. Before BOEM was known as MMS, the Minerals Management Service.
In 2010, you may have heard of an incident called the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. After that, MMS was designated as BOEMRE, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. In 2011, that was split again into two separate agencies. BOEM and also BSEE, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. For its size, BOEM is actually on the smaller size compared to the jurisdiction that it has.
Our jurisdiction is about 1.7 billion acres, which is the outer continental shelf of the United States and its own territories. Also, given its size, we have 11 archeologists, which is on the low-side as well. We are here to explain some of the challenges we face within our regulatory framework.
We have our headquarter offices in Sirloin, Virginia, which also houses our office of offshore, renewable, energy programs and also, our minerals, management program. We also have an office in New Orleans, Louisiana, which headquarters our Gulf of Mexico office, and then we have an office in Camarillo, California, which is our regional base for our Pacific studies. Then we have an office in Anchorage, Alaska, which is the home-base of our Alaska studies.
Overall, BOEM is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the responsible, development of our country’s offshore, energy industry, and also with the extraction of sand and gravel, our mineral resources. We also have to balance our natural resource studies with our cultural heritage and historical preservation responsibilities.
I think for the most part given the younger age of BOEM, we have all sorts of studies going on, which covere entire ray of our responsibilities for historic and archaeology studies. We are, as Doug mentioned, we are doing Paleo cultural studies off of Rhode Island; trying to better define what constitutes a underwater landscape where Paleo cultural sediments may have been, where they may have been located.
Given the challenge of working in such extreme environments so far offshore and in deep water, we are balancing both the Native American, old tradition and perspective with the environmental data we are getting out there with remote sensing surveys in and our coring surveys. We’re also going to kick-off another study off the Pacific Coast, which our archeologist Steve Ball will be explaining to you about the Paleo Cultural study we will be doing off there, off of California.
We are also doing studies in the Gulf of Mexico, trying to define environmental effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on shipwrecks and cultural resources to better define how oil spills and disasters of its kind are affecting the degradation of shipwrecks, and how they’re actually impacting the natural environment in organisms that actually inhabit shipwrecks. Also, such as biological communities, and microbes which we have determined over time actually have a strong impact over how fast wood and steel shipwrecks degrade, and how they can override the system of how shipwrecks can corrode over time, and their site formation processes.
We also doing surveys of 19th Century, historic shipwrecks to get better sense of the trade routes that were going on at that time, to get a better sense of that type of landscape, the cultural and the trade routes going on, and we’ve also had sponsorship’s, sponsored studies of the Battle of the Atlantic to give a sense of maritime battlefields and those landscapes. We do appreciate the opportunity to come here and help us better to find what can be constituted as a landscape.
BOEM itself is unfortunately very restricted with the type of funding that it can give out to the studies that it can be participants with. Because we are very mission focused, we do not have grant authority, unfortunately. The studies that we engage with have to be done by either competitive contracts or we have to do it as cooperative agreements effect with state owned, institutions in effective states. That kind of limits us to coastal states, and those state owned institutions.
And then our third avenue for study involvement is Inter-Agency Agreements with other Federal agencies. We do appreciate any and all opportunities to reach out with those partners to get the data we need, so that we can build upon our multi-disciplinary studies. As I mentioned, one of the challenges we face is helping to getting to further identify what can constitute underwater, cultural, landscape. Especially off the Outer Continental Shelf when we were talking about features that can be hundreds of miles, hundreds of square miles in area, and the scientific data that we have is comparatively limited.
So we do appreciate all opportunities to reach out with our travel partners and our cooperative partners to try to get more data, so that we can help corroborate the oral history of those tribal entities, and also get that data from the C-Force, so we can better define these areas, so that from a scientific standpoint, it isn’t just conjecture that we can actually, you know, pinpoint these ideas better. Yet, work with the park service with expanding the definition of what constitutes a landscape with the National Register assessment program.
Again, I do thank you. Thank you.