NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — University of Rhode Island researchers will be searching the bottom of the ocean for large sand deposits that could be used to replenish eroded areas of the state's coastline.

Researchers expect beach sand to become a hot commodity because of continued erosion and more storms like Superstorm Sandy that damage the coast.

The study is set to begin next month and a report is expected in the fall of 2016. The effort is being funded by a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Energy Management under a program helping coastal communities recover from Sandy.

Researchers say the grant allows them to search federal waters off Rhode Island for sand deposits. They'll also work with officials from other states to analyze environmental effects of extracting sand from the ocean.