Carbon-Removing Shoreline Protection
The Town of Southampton is implementing a beach nourishment project to replenish sand at North Sea Beach. The project includes Coastal Carbon Capture that will advance climate science research.
The North Sea Beach Colony-Beach Erosion Control District (NSCB-BECD) of the Town of Southampton has the necessary permits to complete the NSBC-BECD Beach Restoration Project.
This phase of the NSBC-BECD consists of using dredged sand from North Sea Harbor Inlet and transporting 10,000 cubic yards of it to nourish the 1,400 feet frontage of North Sea Beach Colony. Then, 500 cubic yards of additional olivine sand will be placed onto the North Sea Beach Colony frontage. Olivine sand will only require 1-2 days to place.
This method of olivine placement for carbon dioxide (CO2) removal is called Coastal Carbon Capture - a new technique inspired by Coastal Enhanced Weathering which accelerates the Earth’s natural process for removing atmospheric CO2.
The primary objective of the NSBC-BECD is to replenish the sand lost through erosion, making use of the dredged sand from North Sea harbor inlet.
Olivine is a naturally abundant mineral that can be found locally in New York. When it dissolves in seawater, it removes atmospheric CO2. Hence, the secondary objective is to study the dissolution of olivine sand in seawater to determine how quickly CO2 is removed from the atmosphere.
Monitor environmental effects of olivine placement.
Olivine is a common, naturally occurring silicate mineral (Mg2SiO4) similar to quartz sand (SiO2). Like all sand, olivine dissolves over decades in a natural process called mineral weathering.
For example, the Palisades Sill in New York contains a 30 ft section called the "olivine rich zone" (OZR) where olivine is abundantly found.
Unlike other sand, olivine removes atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) as it dissolves in water and permanently stores it in the ocean as alkalinity.
For billions of years, olivine has been naturally and slowly removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Coastal Carbon Capture speeds up the process.
Olivine is an abundant natural mineral with the capacity to help coastal communities meet the challenges of climate change.
A carbon-removing project removes more CO2 than it emits, meaning it will have an overall beneficial effect on the climate.
There are CO2 emissions associated with the project, for example from dredging the sand and deploying the olivine.
We anticipate that the olivine will remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than the emissions from the project. The specific amount will be determined through our science program.
For further reading, check out the 27 East article featuring the project.
Olivine sand has been carefully tested to look for any risks, and all relevant regulatory agencies have issued permits for the project based on this testing. There are natural olivine beaches around the world, for example in Hawaii. Scientists will be carefully monitoring the site to measure ecological effects.
Yes. Olivine has no effect on beach use.
Initially you may see changes in beach coloration, but once the olivine mixes in with existing sand it will look the same.
This pilot project is projected to remove the CO2 emissions of 1 car per household in NSBC for 1-2 years.
Both Southampton and the state of NY have set sustainability goals to achieve reduced and net zero greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the Town Southampton 400+ and NY State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019, respectively. This project supports these goals.
• Project Scoping & Outreach
• Baseline Ecosystem Surveying
• Channel-Dredged Sand Deployment
• Olivine Sand Deployment
• Sensor and Wave Buoy Installation
• Scientific Surveys
• Reporting & Stakeholder Engagement
• Quantify CO2 Removal
• Project Closeout
The Vesta Monitoring Program (VMP) includes a suite of survey and sensor-based measurements to demonstrate both the ecological safety and efficiency of Coastal Carbon Capture through rigorous, multidisciplinary scientific study. Vesta personnel and collaborators will be on site performing surveys periodically throughout the project life cycle.
Low-profile, continuous monitoring sensors will be installed at several locations within the project site. An Aqualink Smart Buoy has been deployed in the Little Peconic Bay; providing real time wave, wind, and temperature data that can be accessed at https://aqualink.org/sites/3336. Please see the Project Site below for more information on sensor and survey sample locations.
• pH, Temperature, Salinity
• Trace metals
• Alkalinity, pCO2
• Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)
• Dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
• Dissolved oxygen
• Iron, Sulfur
• Grain size
• Olivine content
• Carbonate content
• Secondary minerals
• Organic content
• Lateral sediment transport
• Vertical sediment sorting
• Wave dynamics
• Species abundance
• Species distribution
• Tissue Trace Metal Content
• Habitat Monitoring
• Chlorophyll A