Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special Reports in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (SRAMSOE) No. 204


Increasing demand for petroleum and natural gas in the United States has led to a need for development of reliable new domestic sources. The Outer Continental Shelf of the United States holds great interest among the oil companies for possible exploration and development of oil and gas resources to meet this need. This interest was demonstrated for the Middle Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf in the oil companies' response to the lease sale conducted in August 1976. Of the 154 tracts comprising 876,750 acres offered for lease in August 1975 for exploratory drilling in the Baltimore Canyon Trough (Figure 1), oil compa~ies purchased drilling rights to 101 tracts comprising 575,011 acres. The Bureau of Land Management Environmental Studies Program was established to provide information needed for prediction, assessment, and management of impacts on the human marine and coastal environments of the Outer Continental Shelf and the nearshore area which may be affected by these drilling activities. The studies are designed to: 1. "Provide information on the status of the environment upon which the prediction of the impacts of Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas development for leasing decisionmaking may be based, 2. provide information on the ways and extent that Outer Continental Shelf development can potentially impact the human, marine, biological, and coastal areas, 3. ensure that information already available or being collected under the program is in a form that can be used in the decisionmaking process associated with a specific leasing action or with the longer term Outer Continental Shelf minerals management responsibilities, and 4. provide a basis for furture monitoring of Outer Continental Shelf operations.


The Middle Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies is comprised of three volumes.



Benchmark Study, Chemical, Biological, Atlantic


Chemical and Biological Benchmark Studiesconducted by theVirginia Institute of Marine Scienceunder Contract No. AA550-CT6-62andGeologic Studiesconducted by theU. s. Geological Surveyunder Memorandum of UnderstandingNo. AA550-MU7-31with theBureau of Land ManagementUnited States Department of Interior