[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
U.S. Department of the Interior Report of the Heritage Conservation 0 and Recreation Service Barrier Island Work Group ......... W4@ Z-1-4- -%'w 4 t-. w -C' 4 r- -Nw A F. V I GB 474 B371 R47 -7@ z' ------ 7-7--7-7 In any consideration of our coastal barrier islands, we must understand this paradox: their only Constant is change. Low-lying barrier islands are a limited resource, shiffing position, buffeted, as they are by storm and, wave action. Development for hum'an enjoyment--m-expanding cities, proliferating vacation homes and growing resort facilifies-tends to ignore the inevitable@ -while-it-kas been some two decades since a major hurricane dutk*-,@Zted these islands, our scientists predict that anotiY-erknay occur any year, We befieve that strong environmental safeguards, based on an understanding rec-agnition of the nafun-d forces of the sea, must be foremost in any program for protecting blarrierislan4 from -unwise development and use. Cecil D. Andrus Secretary of the Interior U.S. Department of the Interior/ Report of the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service 17 C, Barrier Island December 18, 1978 Work Group U Sz . DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NOAA 1"0ASTAL SERVICES CENTER 2234 SOUTH HOBSON AVENUE @@'HARLESTON SC 29405-2413 C &A. CID ftoperty of CSC Library Table of Contents Chapter 1 The Barrier Island Problem 4 National Park System 44 Characteristics and role of the barrier islands 4 Fish and Wildlife Service 46 Development of barrier islands 6 Wilderness System 48 Interest in protecting the islands 8 National Park Service policies 48 Study methodology 8 Fish and Wildlife policies so Chapter 2 The Barrier Island: A Storm 10 Natural Landmarks and National 51 Dependent Feature Register sites Land and Water Conservation 51 Description and origin of barrier islands 10 Fund grants The barrier role of barrier islands 13 Coastal Zone Management 52 Barrier island dynamics 13 Floodplain Management 53 Conclusion 15 Environmental impact statement 53 Chapter 3 Impact of Development on the 16 reviews Barrier Island Air quality controls 53 Intended physical changes 16 State efforts 54 Unintended environmental changes 17 Local efforts 58 Water 18 Private ef forts 59 Plant and animal life 20 Acquisition of islands 59 Protecting what's been built 21 Preservation by private owners 61 Chapter 4 Why Should the Barrier Island 26 Community action 62 Ecosystems Be Protected Acquisition for transfer or donation 63 Protection of the barrier islands 26 Chapter 6 Federal Programs and Their 64 Hazards of permanent occupancy 27 Influence on Barrier Island Reasons for protecting the unspoiled islands 33 Development Bridge and highway construction 64 What about the already developed islands 39 programs What about the already protected islands 41 Bridge construction permits 65 Chapter5 Governmental and Private, 42, Highway construction permits 66 Protection Efforts Coastal dredging and shoreline protection 67 Federal programs 42 programs Dredge-and-fill permits 67 5. Effect of Groin on Shoreline 22 Navigational dredging 67 A. Groin Newly Constructed to Protect Beach "B" Shoreline protection 68 B. Trapped Sand Accretes Beach Insurance and disaster relief 71 "B" at Expense of Eroded Beach "A" Flood Insurance Program 72 6. Effect of Seawall on Beach 23 Wastewater treatment facilities grants 74 A. Seawall Built to Protect Beach Small business loans 75 Front Property Federal surplus property 76 B. Subsequent Beach Erosion Due to Deflected Wave Interstate land sales 77 Energy Economic development grants 77 7. Groins and Beach Erosion at 24 Urban planning assistance 78 Miami Beach Nuclear power plant siting 78 8. Hurricane Probability on the East 29 and Gulf Coasts Home mortgage insurance 78 9. Locations of Barrier Island- 45 Mineral and oil exploration and extraction 78 Related Units of the National Conclusion: program coordination 79 Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service List of Tables 10. The Nature Conservancy's 60 1. Results of the 1934 and 1955 NPS 44 Virginia Coast Reserve Surveys 11. Town of Ocean City, Maryland 70 11. Land Ownership within 47 (Flood Insurance Rate Map) Authorized Boundaries of NPS List of Appendices Barrier Island Units III. Total Visits to NPS Administered 48 1. Data Printout of Study Units A-1 Barrier Islands (1956-1978) 2. Categories of Barrier Islands B-1 IV. National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 49 3. Natural Landmarks on Barrier C-1 on Barrier Islands Islands List of Figures 4. National Register Properties on D-1 Barrier Islands 1. Representative Barrier Islands of 7 5. Management Policy for Shoreline E-1 the East and Gulf Coasts Processes in Areas of the 2. Map View of Barrier Islands and Spits 8 National Park System 3. Hypothetical Cross-Section of a 12 6. State-Owned Barrier Islands F-1 Barrier Island 7. Bibliography of Source Material G-1 4. Creation and Subsequent Erosion 18 on Barrier Islands of Assateague Island Chapter 1 The Barrier island Problem The barrier islands off our Atlantic and Gulf Coasts Characteristics and Role of the Barrier Islands have been subject to alternating periods of concern and neglect by the Nation. The periods of concern In order to understand the concern for the barrier have been marked by the selective preservation of islands, it is necessary to understand what they are some of the more outstanding islands, while those and what role they play. The barrier islands of the of neglect have been marked by the unwise develop- Eastern United States stretch in an irregular chain ment and wasteful treatment of others. from Maine to Texas (Fig. 1). Each is an elongated, As a result of our recently awakened concern for narrow landform consisting of unconsolidated and the environment, people from numerous back- shifting sand (Fig. 2). They are generally character- grounds - conserva tionists, scientists, politicians, ized by a dynamic beach system consisting of off- and public employees-have turned their attention shore bars, crashing surf, and a sand beach, dune to the preservation and wise use of barrier islands. ridges just behind the beach, interior lowlands, and Many of the islands have already been developed bay-side wetlands. They are separated from the for urban and commerical uses, or otherwise seri- mainland by marshes or open water, which are inti- ously altered. Others are as yet undeveloped, and it mately related to the island. is these barrier islands that have received much re- These islands are formed by material eroded from cent concern, An important consequence of that glacial deposits or by the action of rising sea level concern is President Carter's decision to take the which submerges coastal lowlands, separating steps necessary to preserve the islands. In his En- Pleistocene uplands and dune systems from the vironmental Protection Message of May 23, 1977, mainland. This continually changing relationship the President declared: between the ocean floor, surf line, and moving sedi- Coastal barrier islands are a fragile b .uffer between the ments produces islands that are both locationally wetlands and the sea. The 189 barrier islands on the and structurally unstable. They are locationally Atlantic and Gulf coasts are an integral part of an unstable because the constant erosion by waves and ecosystem which helps protect inland areas from flood currents often effects a lengthwise migration along waves and hurricanes. Many of them are unstable and not the coast, and also because the rising sea level con- suited for development, yet in the past the Federal Gov- tributes to a movement landward, following the ernment has subsidized and insured new construction on receding shoreline. They are structurally unstable them. Eventually, we can expect heavy economic losses because unconsolidated sands are in constant flux, from this shortsighted policy. being ceaselessly eroded and deposited by winds, About 68 coastal barrier islands are still unspoiled. waves, and currents. Beaches expand in summer Because I believe these remaining nat-iral islands should and contract in winter. Inlets (sea water passages be protected from unwise development, I am directing the that extend from the open ocean through the barrier Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the to the bayside) migrate, are filled in, and are created Secretary of Commerce, the Council on Environmental Quality, and State and local officials of coastal areas, to anew by violent storms. Dunes are altered by develop an effective plan for protecting the islands. storms and often reestablished by coastal vegeta- His report should include recommendations for action tion which either emerges through sand deposited to achieve this purpose. by storms or is established from seeds and plant 4 7T NP fragments and accumulate in drift lines. island profile, they lack a well-developed bay There are some exceptions to the above generali- system. ties. One is the mangrove islands of the Gulf Coast Permanent human habitation of the islands is of Florida, which lack the typical profile of the bar- hazardous, if for no other reason than that uncon- rier island. They are of biological origin, having solidated sand routinely moves about, while roads been formed by the entrapment of sediments by the and houses cannot. The islands are also subject to root systems of the mangrove. Another is the the fury of hurricanes and other storms. Storm islands of South Carolina and Georgia, which were waves breach or overwash the dunes, and entire created through the submergence of Pleistocene islands or sections can be inundated. Because egress sediments rather than the more typical pattern of from the islands usually depends on a narrow the reworking of Pleistocene and recent (Holocene) bridge or a ferry, it is often impossible to evacuate deposits. Although they display a typical barrier large numbers of people on short notice. 5 Ank, Aftft ":-ZA14 AW _4@ -48@"r 400 4Y th Although these islands are not permanently hab- ties extending from acquisition and preservation of itable, they are valuable in many other respects. islands to planning and lobbying efforts. The estuaries and sounds that barrier islands pro- The barrier island is an ephemeral but resilient tect are among the richest and most productive eco- (except when modified by man) landform. It is im- systems known, providing nurseries, shelter, and portant to recognize that it is also a very different feeding for many species of fish, shellfish, and wild- kind of place than the mainland. From the stand- life. In addition, the surf zones of barrier islands points of ecology, economy, safety, and recreation, provide unique habitats for the feeding activities for these islands should be treated and used in ways the larvae of many commercially important fish. consistent with their special characteristics. This Because of the unique relationship between salt has not often been the case. Our use and occupancy water, fresh water, sand, and storms, the islands of the islands have often proceeded without con- support fascinating ecosystems not found else- cem, and sometimes in defiance of their geomor- where. They are also places of great attraction and phic reality. recreational opportunity. Because of these important public values, a Development of the Barrier Islands number of barrier islands have been preserved in their undeveloped state. Nine of the most out- Although some of the islands were settled early in standing scenic and natural islands or island groups our colonial period, and others were used as sources have been set aside as national seashores, and many of materials or coastal defense sites, barrier islands others are preserved as national wildlife refuges. as a group have not been under development Most of the States have placed one or more barrier pressure until relatively recently. This is easy to islands under protection as parks or wildlife understand given the inherent dangers and high refuges, as have a number of local governments. costs associated with developing them, and the fact Private conservation organizations also have in- that more convenient and less costly sites were volved themselves in island protection, with activi- plentiful on the mainland. Recently, however, 6 changing technological, economic, and social dredging and filling, and the constant threat and ef- conditions have made the islands seem more feasi- fects of storms and flooding makes everything- ble and desirable for development. The fact that from road maintenance to house construction and people now have enough money to purchase second property insurance-more expensive. Unaided, homes and have more leisure time, coupled with the most developers would probably seek less costly ease of modern transportation, may have largely mainland sites. It is therefore ironic that, as men- changed our attitudes about the barrier islands and tioned by the President in his Environmental how we use them. But it hasn't changed the natural Message, many Federal programs subsidize and in- problems and hazards associated with them. sure the development of the islands. By neutralizing Developing the islands is a costly undertaking. the disadvantages inherent in the barrier island Access must be provided across water, appropriate environment, and thereby reducing the economic upland sites are relatively scarce without expensive burden on the developer, not only is that burden Figure 1. Representative Barrier Islands of the East and Gulf Coasts Maine Number State of Islands Total Acreage Alabama 5 28,200 Vt. PophamBeach Biddeford Pool wells Beach Connecticut 14 2,362 @r4. Seabrook Delaware 2 10,100 - - Nahant Florida 80 467,710 N.Y_ Mass. Cape Cod Georgia 15 165,600 R. L Con Louisiana 18 41,120 0A... Weekapaug Black Rack Maine 9- 2,640 Penn. Fire 1. Maryland 2 14,300 Delaware N. Barnegat 1. Massachusetts 27 37,600 Long Beach Mississippi Atlantic City 5 9,500 Ll 'Mu Rehoboth New Hampshire 2 1,100 D. C. Femovick 1. New Jersey 10 48,000 Virginia Assateague 1. New York 15 30,310 f Parramore 1. North Carolina 23 146,400 Norfolk False Cape Rhodelsland 6 3,660 Bodie 1, Hatteras 1. South Carolina 35 144,150 North Carolina Ocracoke 1. Texas 16 383,500 .0 Core Banks Virginia 11 68,900 Bogue Banks 18 States -295 1,605,152 '-@South Carolina Ashe 1. harleston Debidue 1. Bull 1. )l Georgia Kiavvah 1, Savan h St. Phillips 1. Alabama Wassaw 1. Miss. Jekyll 1, Texas Cumberland 1. Louisiana -7 r Amelia I Houston New Orleans nastasia 1. Florida V A st, Flagle, 1. Cape George 1. Galveston.. San Cape Canaveral Matagorda 1. Bias Anclote Keys I Tampa Mustang 1. Caladesi 11 Santa Rosa 1. Padre I Perdido Key Captiva I It Miami Jupiter 1. Dauphin I Sanibel Miami Beach Horn I Ten Thousan Is Grand Isle Tembalier I Isle Dernieres 7 shifted to the mainland taxpayer, but a valuable Figure 2. Map View of Barrier Islands and Spits resource is potentially jeopardized. The result has been a pronounced trend in barrier island development in recent years that has changed Barrier public perception of the islands, as well as seriously Spit altering many of the islands themselves. One facet Bay of this trend is the real estate boom that has seen the Mainland Ocean development of one island after another into second Barrier home residential communities, retirement villages, Island and exclusive waterfront colonies. Another is the ever-increasing public demand for and use of coastal beaches for recreation. Interest in Protecting the Islands mental Message is inexact; that is, there are more than 68 islands undeveloped in whole or in part, The current interest in protecting the barrier islands while some of the undeveloped islands included in is a logical outgrowth of the conservation-environ- that figure are already protected. It was also mental movement, but more specifically it is the recognized that a complete understanding of the result of the efforts of a number of conservationists islands would be required as a basis for the develop- to encourage a more enlightened, farsighted treat- ment of sensible policies, and that this would entail ment of the islands. A Barrier Island Workshop, a review of all islands, developed as well as held in Annapolis, Maryland in May 1976 under the undeveloped. Next was the question of just what is combined auspices of the Office of Coastal Zone a barrier island. In addition to the normal insular Management (Department of Commerce) and the examples are many sand spits which, although they Conservation Foundation, led to the creation of the are not islands, function as barriers and often Barrier Island Coalition. This coalition of scientists, become barrier islands when new storm-created in- citizens, and approximately 25 private conservation lets isolate them from the mainland (Fig. 2). The organizations continues the work and interest mangrove islands of Florida were also considered, generated by the Workshop and was instrumental since they play a role similar to that of the authentic in putting the barrier island problem on the conser- barrier islands and share much of their value to vation agenda of the Carter administration. society. In response to the President's directive, a work After examining maps, inventories, and reports, group was established within the Department of the the work group identified what appeared to be dis- Interior under the general direction of the Heritage tinct barrier islands, spits, and mangrove islands, or Conservation and Recreation Service. The group closely related groups, in order to establish the consisted of representatives of the National Park parameters of the study. The result was identifica- Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Barrier tion of nearly 300 barrier island study units, some Island Coalition, the Office of Coastal Zone of which consist of a single large island, and others Management, and the Council on Environmental of closely related groups of islands (Appendix A). Quality. Data were submitted to the work group by The study units were then inventoried with respect each of the Federal agencies whose programs assist to over 50 information areas (management, land or encourage the development of barrier islands, use, land cover, etc.) and categorized for automated and information on programs, problems, and data processing. A list of these study units and future plans was obtained from the coastal States maps delineating them were reviewed by represen- and interested parties. tatives of Federal field offices and State agencies and by "Island Watchers" of the Barrier Island Study Methodology Coalition. A number of changes were made to reflect the comments received. Unfortunately, At the outset, the work group decided to amplify because of the lateness of some responses and the the President's assignment. First, the figure of 68 pressure of time, it was impossible to incorporate undeveloped islands mentioned in the Environ- all suggested changes, As planned, however, the 8 Protected islands in public ownership (i.e., na- tional seashores and wildlife refuges) are usually available for public recreational use, and usually have some administrative or public use facilities, rangin g from simple campgrounds to elaborate night accommodations. These islands range over from virtually natural to quite altered en- vironments. Those in non-public ownership are -F w held by their owners (commonly, non-profit con- servation organizations) in some sort of permanent legal protection. Z Broadly speaking, the work group translated the President@s charge into two fundamental issues: barrier island data inventory and data bank will be updated on a regular basis in order to correct inac- * How can the remaining undeveloped barrier curacies and account for changes in management islands be preserved in their natural state7 and island conditions. 0 How can any further development of the already The study units were then subdivided into three developed or partly developed islands be guided categories according to the islands' dominant to minimize adverse environmental and econom- characteristics: ic impacts7 1. developed 2. undeveloped 3. protected Those broad issues led the work group to seek 1. Developed barrier islands are those with 75 per- answers to more specific, secondary questions: cent or more of their area developed, or with 9 How can Federal programs refrain from assisting 1,000 or more acres of developed land area. or encouraging unwise barrier island develop- 2, Undeveloped barrier islands are those with no ment7 more than 10 percent of the land area developed, a What can the States and local governments do to or with 5,000 or more acres of undeveloped guide better development of the islands, and land. how can these efforts be encouraged by the 3. Protected barrier islands. are those which are at Federal Government7 How can private preserva- least 50 percent owned and managed by a public tion efforts be encouraged by the Federal agency, private group, or individual whose Government7 In what ways can the management long-term intention is to maintain the natural of Federally-administered barrier islands be im- conditions. proved? 9 Chapter 2 The Barrier Island: A Storm-Dependent Feature' The barrier islands are common landforms along Monomoy, Massachusetts, and Fire Island, New the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of the United States.' York. It is thought that many of the islands along They consist of sand and other loose sediments that much of the southern Atlantic Coasts owe their for- have been and continue to be transported by winds, mation to a second cause, related to a rising sea waves, and storm surges. Geologically speaking, level. According to this theory, as the sea rises, they are quite young, having been formed only in dune ridges form on the mainland shore. When this the last five or six thousand years. The barrier ridge is breached by the continued rise of the sea, islands are so named because they protect lagoons, the lowland section of the mainland behind the salt marshes, estuarine systems, and the mainland dunes is flooded, creating lagoons and leaving the from the direct attack of ocean waves and storm dune ridge isolated as an island. The Outer Banks of surges, On one side, they face and absorb the full North Carolina, Miami Beach, and Padre Island, force and energy of the oceanic environment. On Texas, are examples. the other, they face the relatively calm waters and A third mechanism of barrier island formation shore that result from the physical barrier formed suggests that the islands are a function of the up- by the island itself. ward aggradation of submerged offshore shoal The term "barrier island," as used in this report, areas. Examples are found in the barrier islands off includes the barrier spits. Spits are attached to the the coast of Mississippi. A fourth mechanism mainland, with one end forming an attenuated involves the isolation of certain Pleistocene uplands peninsula, and can become barrier islands when a of the mainland. These sections of the coast are cut storm-caused inlet severs the peninsula from the off from the mainland as the rising sea level inun- mainland (Fig. 2). dates surrounding low areas or river valleys, and are left as islands. Many of the sea islands of Description and Origin of the Barrier Islands Georgia are of this type, for example Sapelo and Cumberland Islands. A fifth mechanism is that in There are several different types of barrier islands, which major rivers deposit large quantities of owing their differences to their geologic history. sediments in the ocean and the resulting deltaic Along the northeastern coast of the United States, deposits are eroded by the waves and subsequently from New York north, they have generally been redeposited as barrier spits or islands down beach. formed by the erosion of glacial deposits and the Examples of these are found around Cape Romain, subsequent deposition of the eroded material in South Carolina, and the Mississippi delta elongated spits. Later, if the spit is breached, thus Chandeleur group. breaking free from the mainland, an island is Although they vary considerably from place to formed. Examples of this type of island include place, barrier islands generally have several charac- 'This chapter relies heavily on the work of Drs. Paul Godfrey 'Although the President's Environmental Message singled out the and Stephen Leatherman of the National Park Service Coopera- Gulf and Atlantic Coast barrier islands for consideration, these tive Research Unit, University of Massachusetts. Dr. Godfrey features also exist in Alaska, and to a lesser extent along the served as a member of the interagency barrier island work West Coast and on the Great Lakes, as well as elsewhere in the group. world. 10 AP T,- teristic parts (Fig. 3.). With respect to the general- inland if it were not for beach grasses in the north- ized barrier island, the beach faces the ocean and east and sea oats in the southeast. These grasses absorbs the full force of the waves on an hourly have two distinctive characteristics: they can toler- basis. Because the loose sand and shell fragments ate the salt spray that is a major component of the are subjected to constant impact and movement, beach-dune environment and they can sustain the beach is the most unstable section of the barrier burial by windblown sand, growing upward and island. Most plants and animals cannot survive in outward as the blowing sand accumulates around this habitat. The organisms that do exist are them. As the dune grows and the grass continually adapted to constant change, mainly animals (like recolonizes, the sand surface, the dune becomes sta- mole crabs and coquina clams) that can rebury bilized. Later, nitrogen-fixing plants such as themselves rapidly, and microscopic anim als and bayberry and beach pea invade the dune, adding single cell algae. nitrates to the barren sand that fertilize other Immediately behind or above the beach is the plants. With long-term stability and shelter from dune zone, which may consist of a single dune ridge salt spray, shrub thickets and, eventually, that is stabilized by beach grasses, or of several woodlands can develop on the landward side of the dune ridges that are either parallel to each other or frontal dunes. that occur in curving arcuate lines. Open dune Behind the dunes is the barrier flat, an extensive fields without any distinctive ridges also occur. plain. These flats are typically covered with grass or Depending on its geologic history, an island's dune meadow vegetation that is adapted to frequent sand zone may extend all the way to the intertidal zone burial and flooding. One of the most important of on the backside of the island, or grade into the these species is salt meadow cord grass. In the barrier flats. absence of flooding and where stability has pre- Plants are important in the dune zone because vailed for some time, shrub-thickets, woodlands, they stabilize the dune or ridges and act as traps. and even forests can develop in the flats. Finally, on Sand blown off the beach would just keep moving the backside of the island is the shore of the lagoon Figure 3. Hypothetical Cross-Section of a Barrier Island -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 M. H. Dune Dune Ridge Ridge S71..gh Secondary imary Berm Tidal Spartina Stable or Fore- Ocean F eeki Marsh Beach est Serni-stable- Semi-stable- Dune Beach- Dimensions and features vary from island to island. A stable dune or dune ridge is a dune which has reached its A semi-stable dune or dune ridge is constant in terms of peak elevation and is covered with woodland vegetation. position on the shoreline, but functions as part of the Source: Clement, C. D., 1971, "Recreation on the Georgia sand-sharing system. Coast: An Ecological Approach," Georgia Business: Vol. 30, no. 11, p. 1-24. Adapted by J. R. Richardson. (or bay, estuary, or sound). Here, the intertidal the surface of the barrier flats, within reach of the zone supports the salt marsh, a very productive plant roots. In those low spots where the water ecosystem that ranges from the highest reaches of table intersects the ground surface, freshwater the spring tide down to mean sea level. The high ponds or marshes occur. All of this fresh water on marsh is periodically flooded from the lagoon, but the island orginates in rain or snow that falls direct- only on the monthly cycle of the spring tide or dur- ly on the island; there is no inflow from other ing storms. This plant community, like barrier flats, sources. 3 Fresh water can therefore be quite scarce is dominated by salt meadow cord grass. Next is the on a barrier island, limited to the lens between the low marsh, extending downward from the neap tide ground surface and salt water. to approximately mean sea level, and dominated by It should be noted that barrier islands similar to salt marsh cord grass. It is the most productive part those off the coast of Mississippi may differ consi- of the barrier island since it is flooded during diur- derably from the preceding generalized description. nal tidal cycles. The extremely high levels of pro- These islands have five major divisions: (1) outer ductivity of the salt marsh (as high at 2 kg/ml/year beach with broad berm, (2) a belt of dunes, (3) an in some locations) is a key to the biotic wealth of inner flat or marsh, (4) a second belt of smaller the adjacent lagoon, into which the organic detritus dunes, and (5) an inner beach with a narrow berm. and nutrients of the salt marsh drain to become a Usually the dune belt includes a series of low ridges base of the estuarine food chain. A good deal of the (1.5-6.1 in) which are difficult to distinguish from marsh detritus also goes into the organic peat beach ridges. deposits that make up the foundation of the marsh. The plants that live on the dunes and flats require fresh water, which is normally available to them in two ways. First, the dunes - although dry on the 'In some coastal situations mainland aquifers sloping outwards surface - hold sufficient moisture within to sup- into the ocean bed extend under the barrier islands. This water port the plants. Second, beneath the dunes there is a is sometimes available by sinking deep wells from the island, lens of fresh water that floats on the salt water that going down through the sand, salt water zone, and any inter- saturates the lower sediments. The upper level of vening strata. The water in such an aquifer orignally fell over the mainland and percolated downward to its subocean bottom this lens (the water table) is usually quite close to location. 12 from the streams, and are regenerated in the inter- tidal marshes of both barrier island and mainland. Diurnally the flood and ebb tides stir up the nutri- ents and import additional nutrients and organisms from the sea. It is an extremely fertile environment, supporting a highly productive food chain. A large number of species of shellfish and finfish spawn in these bays, which then serve as nursery grounds; many of them later migrate to the ocean. Another Z- group of species that uses these waters and marshes is birds. Of special interest are the numerous migratory waterfowl that find shelter, rest, and feeding during their spring and fall migrations. 7L-- Many lagoons, especially those along the Southeast and Gulf Coasts, also serve as wintering places for the birds. The crucial protection afforded by the barrier d also extends to the mainland shore. The im- islan pact of storm waves and hurricane surges on the shore is greatly reduced by the barrier effect of the 4C island. Many harbors and coastal communities along low-lying sections of the Gulf and Southeast Coasts owe their permanence to just such protec- tion. Given this relationship, it is essential to recognize The Barrier Role of Barrier Islands the importance of the barrier island to the con- tinued existence and well-being of the lagoon. It The barrier island is not merely a structure unto follows that what we do on or to the islands will itself, but is an integral part of an island-bay have a direct effect on the sheltered area behind. system, and is important to our coastal develop- Barrier Island Dynamics ment and saltwater activities. Since the lagoon or bay would not exist without the island, it is impor- There is a world of difference between the barrier tant to this system. islands and most other landscapes in terms of geo- The barrier island beach is a high-energy land- logic and geographic stability. The Grand Canyon form, exposed to the full impact of wind and storm is still being eroded by the Colorado River, yet it waves. As the waves run up the foreshore and as looks about the same today as it did 100 years ago. those that infrequently overwash the dunes spread The Sierra Nevada is still rising, but the rise is out onto the barrier flats beyond, tremendous noticeable only by careful measurement. But the amounts of energy are absorbed by the island and barrier islands are dynamic, unstable, evolving thus dissipated. By the time such an overwash flood landforms. Moreover, the change that occurs is passes over the beach, dunes, and flats, its has continual, is readily apparent on a seasonal basis, usually become a thin sheet of water flowing gently sometimes occurs with suddenness and violence, into the lagoon. As a result, the lagoon is a low- and affects many of man's activities. energy, protected environment of tidal wetlands, Along the Atlantic Coast, for example, the peri- marshes, and/or open water. Here, fresh water odic passage of cyclonic storms (northeasters) flowing from mainland streams mixes with sea makes winter a stormier season than summer. Dur- water flowing over and around the barrier island, ing this stormy period the barrier island beaches are creating a special and uniquely rich environment under much greater stress from the energy con- for plants and animals. tained in waves. The waves move large quantities Nutrients are continually washed into the bay of sand from the beach to the offshore bar, leaving 13 _ALA. %WP00..0-- 00 27@ a narrow beach. During the calmer, low energy seas or shoaling. When an inlet is open, flood tide cur- of summer, the beach is broadened as the waves rents and the littoral drift (see below) tend to move move sand from the offshore bar onto the beach. sand from the beach zone through the inlet to the The effects are apparent and sometimes startling. A bay-side, where the sand settles in the calm water beach may, on a seasonal basis, be halved in size and forms extensive shoals. These shoals, called the and then doubled to its previous size. flood tide delta, form the basement for the creation More dramatic, and essential to an understanding of new salt marshes, and eventually dry land, when of barrier island instability, is the process in which the inlet moves on or closes. Inlets are the major the entire island migrates toward the land. Many barrier island corridors through which sand is people call this "erosion," but it is more accurately transported landward in response to the tidal cur- termed "retreat" since the island moves as a com- rents. rising sea, and storm surges. plete ecological unit. The ultimate driving force in The second process by which sand is transported this landward retreat of the island (and the simulta- across the island is overwash. This occurs when neous retreat of the mainland shore itself) is the storm surges rise up over the beach and dunes, slowly rising sea level, amounting to approximately carrying quantities of sand across barrier flats and one foot per century along the Atlantic Coast. into the bay. The third process is wind transport. Another driving force is the storms, essentially hur- This is most effective when sand is exposed to ricanes and northeasters, that affect the coastal strong or persistent winds, and where anchoring zone. There are three processes by which the rising vegetation is sparse. sea and storms push back the islands: inlet dynam- In regions where winds are predominantly off- ics, overwash, and windblown sand (aeolian shore, wind transport acts counter to dune over- transport). wash processes. When on-shore winds prevail, all An inlet is a sea level channel across an island. of these processes, working in concert, pick up sand Once cut by storm action, it tends to migrate down from the ocean side of the island, move it across the the length of the island, and often closes by siltation island, and deposit it in the bay. The result is a vir- 14 tual "rollover" of the island that moves it landward. not end with deposition on the island's tail, but con- This rollover ;s seen in the layers of peat, once t;nues around an inlet to be deposited on the next formed under the bayside salt marsh, that are com- downdrift island. The littoral drift is a continuous, monly found under the interior barrier flats and natural process that occurs as long as waves break even the dune zones. On a few islands, there are on a beach. remnant forests in the form of low stumps. These Although it is true that the barrier islands are once grew on the bayside of the island and now pro- dynamic, and without regard to what it augurs for trude from the ocean waves at low tide. While the human habitation and use of the islands, it is vital stumps remained in place, the entire island literally to recognize that it is this same dynamic nature that passed over them. This process is more descriptive makes the barrier island stable in the ecologic and of the processes that affect and shape islands along geologic sense. The entire system is flexible enough the Atlantic coast than of those occurring in the to adapt to and absorb great energy stress. The bar- Gulf of Mexico. rier islands as we know them have undoubtedly It is important to remember that overwash and moved a considerable distance since their forma- inlet formation-the most effective processes in tion, and represent the forces that have dominated barrier island migration-are responses to the rising the coast for hundreds of years. It is clear that the sea level. It is equally important to note that all islands are still evolving and moving in response to evidence suggests that the present trend of relative the forces of ocean and storm, and it is unlikely that sea level rise will continue and possibly increase. any major changes will occur in the patterns we One additional element of sand transport, littoral now see unless the sea level begins to fall-in which drift, is not related to sea level change. This move- case entirely new conditions would prevail. ment of sand along the beach (i.e., lengthwise down the island) is accomplished by littoral currents Conclusion created by waves breaking on the beach. As waves approach the beach from almost any direction but In nearly all cases, the natural functioning of the straight on, they tend to break and then wash back barrier island and its associated bays and estuaries to the sea in an angular fashion. The net result of have evolved together in equilibrium with the this angular pushing and washing of countless dynamic nature of the oceanic environment. But, grains of sand is a migration of sand down the ironically, as will be discussed in the following beach in the direction of the breaking waves. This chapter, these dynamic, storm-dependent systems littoral drift, often called a river of sand, does in a of sand and water have not evolved the capacity to lengthwise sense what the above described pro- absorb human intervention. They are very suscepti- cesses do in a transverse sense: it takes sand from ble to human disturbance, and can be thrown com- one end of an island, slowly moves it down the pletely out of balance by human activity in excess beach, and deposits it at the opposite end, accreting of the island's ability to absorb it. new land there. In many cases, the littoral drift does 15 Chapter 3 Impact of Development on the Barrier Island The barrier island results from and exists in an envir- onment of extreme energy stress. Its location, topo- graphy, vegetation, animal life, and relationships with nearby land and water bodies are either deter- mined or modified by that ever-present stress. Waves, wind, tidal action, ocean flooding, incessant erosion, and deposition-these natural forces shape and regulate the barrier island system, maintaining it in a constant state of flux. This singular relationship between land, water, and energy, and the resulting dynamic balance poses a question that is basic to our successor failure on the islands: how does human habitation, development, and use of the barrier islands affect the island itself? The following describes intended and unintended impacts on the barrier islands resulting from man's activities. The physical and environmental changes that result from these activities are interwoven and complex. Recognizing this, the following is simply an attempt to clarify the complex relationships be- tween man and the islands, and necessarily results in somewhat artificial divisions. Intended Physical Changes People who visit a barrier island only briefly, as for recreational enjoyment of the beach, do not require parts of most islands are inadequate f or development much beyond what the island itself offers and a or human habitation. Dune ridges and dune fields means of access to it. Unless they are careless, their are not only unstable, but they preclude an essential brief stay leaves the island unchanged. But most hu- ingredient of oceanfront lots-a view of the ocean. man activities are of a more permanent nature and Interior lowlands and wetlands are difficult to build require that alterations be made in the land. on, are inappropriate for septic tanks, and are sub- Wherever we locate our cities, construct highways ject to frequent flooding. And the bayside marshes or dams, or cultivate the land, we see conscious, pur- are more water than land, totally unsuited to any poseful change. construction. Creating building sites is one such activity that has To alter these features by way of improving them had great impact on the barrier islands. The physical for building purposes is to destroy them and their picture drawn in Chapter 2 makes it clear that large natural functions. The dunes are quickly and easily 16 bulldozed, providing level sites and opening up Unintended Environmental Changes broad vistas of the sea. Low sites are diked, drained, and raised by filling, eliminating the wetland com- When a dune is bulldozed or a marsh is buried under munities of plants and animals. The bay side of the fill material, it is a purposeful act, carried out with island usually presents special problems as well as the specific intention of altering the island to accom- special opportunities for the developer. Not only is modate a particular activity or development. But the marshy edge of the land unusable for building such activities also often carry with them a number sites, but the shallow, often shoal-choked bay or of destructive consequences that are not intended, channel discourages the use of pleasure craft. These that are merely unplanned and often unforeseen con- deficiencies can be turned to advantage by simply comitants to the unwise use of a f ragile landf orm. dredging the bay and filling the marsh. By construc- The main dune ridge, for example, is normally ting seawalls and selectively dredging and filling located parallel to and just behind the ocean beach of a barrier island. Because the beach is often the most lar part of the island, there is a large volume of Popu traffic across the dunes. These dunes, so important to the rest of the island and the bay beyond for the storm and wave protection they provide, are usually stabilized by species of grass well adapted to their harsh environment. Although the grasses are hardy enough to survive washovers and storm winds, they 4 "4 cannot survive the impact of vehicle wheels or z Vt repeated trampling by human feet. With the destruc- tion of the grasses and their anchoring roots, it takes the winds little time to erode gaps in the dunes, and ultimately to remove them altogether. Another place where vehicles have a devastating impact is the wetland portions of the islands. In addi- tion to the physical damage to plants, wheel ruts re- main in the soft mucky soil. By the mere collection of rainwater, the ruts become small reservoirs of fresh water in a brackish-or salt water environment, or vice versa. This results in the demise of the marine or freshwater plants and animals. Vehicles can also make lasting impressions in subsurface peat, open- ing the area to erosion, and serving as channels for rising and falling tides. A good example of a planned action with unplanned consequences occurred on Sanibel Island, off the southwest coast of Florida. A among them, fingers of solid land are created thatare 70-acre tract of valuable and beautiful tidal separated by fingers of navigable water. What was mangrove forest was seriously damaged, not by ac- marsh becomes real estate, and a large percentage of tions aimed at it, but rather by the dredging and fill- the new lots front on the water. Groins and jetties are ing of an adjacent tract. Freshwater flooding of the built to collect sand to enhance certain beachfront forest was caused by the work, killing many of the properties. Generally, they are effective structures trees. Culverts under a road that separated the two for that intended purpose but the unintended effect tracts were unable to relieve the condition. Addi- on adjacent down-drift properties is an unwelcome tional culvert construction and the replanting of 40 starvation of the beach. These changes are more or acres is not likely to save the mangroves, since the less immediate, and result in the partial or total f orest-so dependent on a critically balanced flow of destruction of the features that make barrier islands fresh and salt water-is still deprived of its proper ecologically and geologically different. tidal circulation. 17 Another example of purposeful action leading to Figure 4. Creation and Subsequent Erosion unforeseen and unintended geologic change is that of of Assateague Island Assateague Island. Until 1933, a long barrier spit ex- Va tended south from Ocean City, Maryland, separated Isle of Wight Conditions Prior from the mainland by Sinepuxent Bay (Fig. 4). In 3 Bay that year a violent storm struck the area and created . .... to 1933 an inlet through the spit just south of Ocean City, LL Erosion-Deposition separating Assateague from the mainland. Because Proceeds Coastwise of the convenience of the new entrance to the bay, it From North to South was decided that the inlet should be preserved by the Ocean construction of jetties out into the ocean. By trap- ping the southward flow of sand along the beach, the N jetties prevented that sand from entering the inlet and shoaling it. They also prevented the sand from reaching Assateague Island to the south, and thus ac- celerated its erosion by wave action. The result is Storm-Created Inlet that in 45 years the island has eroded back its full Cuts the Spit, width, and is close to pinching off the bay and Creates Assateague attaching itself to the mainland. Island Some ecosystems or landforms are more easily upset, while others can more readily absorb the im- jetties Installed to pact of human development. Barrier islands are Maintain the New among the former. In this case, even if the damage is Inlet unintentional, it is nonetheless real. A destroyed dune provides no protection to the land and water M" behind it, regardless of the method by which it was destroyed. Water Resultant Accretion o f Sand on -0 Ocean City Side Water usually occurs in three forms on the islands- of Inlet as salt water on the ocean side, fresh water on the island itself, and brackish water on the marsh or Continued Erosion bay side. Each is important to the ecology and Without Sand geology of the island, and each is very important to Replacement Causes man and to man's activities on the island. Pronounced Retreat Of the three, ocean water is the most plentiful, Of North End of the most frequently replaced, and the least affected Assateague by man's activities on the island. As we know, how- *Maps Are Approximation Only ever, these waters-and the barrier islands they it is a self -replenishing resource, the rate of wash-are easily polluted by activities both on the replenishment is governed by the island's limited mainland and at sea. Sewer outfalls (from the main- precipitation and catchment area .4 If an island com- land or island), ocean dumping of garbage, petro- munity obtains its water by wells, an imbalance leum drilling and handling, and maritime accidents between demand and replenishment can cause an all have destructive effects on the water quality, overdraft on the limited groundwater supply. It is and may influence our use of the surf zone and important to recall that this groundwater, at its sub- beach. terranean margins, is in contact with and holds The fresh water naturally occurring on an island back the oceanic salt water. Overdrafting this water comes from local precipitation falling directly on not only means that sooner or later the islanders' the island.. None of the water comes from upstream watersheds because there is no upstream. Although 'Fordeep aquifers, see footnote p. 22, Chapter2. 18 The third water resource-the brackish bay or marsh on the landward margin of the islands-is ex- tremely valuable, not only for its contribution to the production of vast quantities of commercial seafood, but also for its recreational importance to island and mainland residents. These are protected waters, the location most sought-after for the con- struction of marinas and waterfront subdivisions. Ironically, the waters are protected by the very dunes that are often damaged or destroyed by the development that includes the marinas or subdivi- sions. Construction of these facilities as well as their later use and occupation considerably disturbs all supply of fresh water will be depleted or exhausted, elements of these fragile water bodies. The construc- but also that the intrusion of subterranean salt tion usually requires extensive dredging, which not water, as the fresh water body contracts, will bring only destroys the bay bottom and surface and unusable brackish water into the wells. Barring the floating vegetation, but also churns up large availability of a deep aquifer, the only alternative amounts of sediments, making the water turbid. The for a permanent community is to pipe water over churned sediments often contain pesticides and other from the mainland. If this is done on a barrier spit contaminants that had previously settled. Even if with a land connection to the mainland, little harm this turbid condition lasts only while the dredging may be done. However, to reach a barrier island, takes place, it can still disrupt the waters at a con- the pipe must be laid across the easily disturbed bay siderable distance from the activity. Frequently, or marsh, and substantial ecological disturbance where the dredged spoil is deposited to form dry may result. land, vegetation is destroyed .5 As indicated by the perennially or periodically After construction, when the remaining bay bot- wet lowlands of many islands, the upper surface of tom, water, and vegetation have adjusted to the new the fresh groundwater is in many places at or near conditions, there are still disturbances that will affect the ground surface. This condition, combined with the area. The operation of marinas and the coming the sandy soil, makes it very difficult to install sep- and going of pleasure boats cause noise and vibra- tic systems and drain fields. Not only is the septic tion in the water. Frequently there are spills and drainage impeded by the saturated condition of the leaks of fuel and oil, and periodic maintenance soil, there is always the possibility of the waste dis- dredging of approach channels and anchorages tends charge mixing with the fresh water that is later used to keep the water perturbed. for domestic purposes, or of polluting the estuary. Land activities also cause contamination. For ex- It is clear that the water regime of many barrier ample, golf courses or other developments associ- islands imposes severe limitations on urban, resi- ated with marinas or waterfront subdivisions, as dential, or commercial development of modest size well as house lawns, may leak pesticide- and fertiliz- or larger. Potable water has to be imported from er-contaminated runoff into the water. In addition, the mainland and sewage must be treated on site. fresh water from rain or snow, which would have To the extent that the residents pump from the percolated into the subsoil, now runs off on newly groundwater but export their treated (or untreated) paved surfaces into the marshes and is lost to the sewage via discharge pipes at sea, the groundwater freshwater lens. is depleted. Given this particular hydrology, barrier It should be remembered that these salt marsh and island development will be costly: either the island bay-estuarine ecosystems are finely-tuned associa- community, or the Federal, State, or local govern- tions of fresh water, salt water, transported ment pays the economic cost of water pipes, pump- ing stations, sewage collection, and treating plants, 'However, it is important to note that the U.S. Corps of Army or we all pay the environmental costs of depleted Engineers, through its Dredged Material Research Program, has groundwater, saltwater incursion, and pollution by sponsored considerable research on revegetation of spoil disposal effluents. sites. 19 4 nutrients, native vegetation, and many other fac- The loggerhead sea turtle spends its entire life at tors. Their plants and animals are conditioned to, sea, with one exception. Once a year, the females and depend upon, the natural ambient conditions, come to certain barrier islands to lay their eggs. On a including the flux of salinity, the seasonal changes of given night, in an astoundingly ungainly perfor- temperature or dissolved oxygen, and, especially, mance, this large sea-going animal lumbers far up on the protection offered by the barrier island from ma- the beach, laboriously digs a deep hole in the sand jor storm winds and tides. These water bodies are with her flippers, deposits a clutch of eggs, covers the fragile in the sense that it does not require a very nest and erases the signs of its presence, and returns serious intrusion by humans to upset the existing to the sea. The eggs left to incubate in the sand are dynamic balance. The intrusions described here, vulnerable to the predation of raccoons and ghost which are common on many barrier islands, are crabs and to the beach-destroying force of storms. serious. But enough nests remain undisturbed through the gestation period, and enough hatchlings dig their Plant and Animal Life way up to the air and make their way down to the water to have assured the species' survival. Unfor- One of the fascinations of the barrier island-as of tunately, neither the female's remarkable fecundity other environmentally harsh places-is the manner nor her amazing ability to bury and disguise her nest in which plant and animal forms have evolved the are sufficient protection against dune-leveling means not merely to cope with their stressful condi- bulldozers, rooting feral pigs, or egg-poaching tions, but to thrive in them. Yet, although they are humans. The loggerhead depends on the barrier adapted to harsh conditions, human beings intro- beach. It cannot change its ways and lay its eggs in duce a new set of conditions with which these hardy swamps or forests, nor can it conceivably evolve a species cannot cope. Two examples suffice to illus- defense against the new threats that man has created trate this problem. on its nesting beaches. It can only do what it has always done, and we can already see the ultimate 20 Vim although Spartina is hardy enough to withstand burial, it has no defense against being churned and crushed by four-wheel drive vehicles, nor can its remarkable water-gathering root system cope with a falling water table that results from excessive pump- ing. This grass, which plays such an important role in holding the sand (and hence the island) in place, adapted as it is to environmental stresses, is unfor- tunately quite fragile in relation to man's activities. Protecting What's Been Built "N' There is one final category of impacts resulting from result in the species' dwindling numbers." The only man's habitation and development of the barrier probable salvation for the turtles is for humans to islands that deserves attention because of what it protect the beaches instead of destroying them. suggests to us about the relationship between man A plant that illustrates the same type of adaptation and the barrier island. The problem arises because to the islands' harsh conditions, yet a lack of resis- houses and roads are not designed to migrate with tance to the new threats introduced by humans, is the moving beaches and dunes. The individual parts the Spartina patens, salt meadow cordgrass, that of the natural system are adapted to the movements grows on the dunes and sand flats of North and the instability; what we construct on the barrier Carolina's Outer Banks. The ability to thrive on the island generally is not. It follows that, notwithstand- inhospitable and blowing sand, exposed to continual ing the movement of sand from beach to beach and salt spray and periodic dessication, would in itself from island to island and the continual reordering of indicate remarkable adaptation by the plant. But the beaches and dunes and vegetation, erosion does not barrier islands of the southeast impose another harsh take on human significance until man builds a struc- condition on this Spartina; that of overwash. ture on the island. Suddenly, a natural condition of Periodically, storms and high tides either breach or the island geology that bothered nobody when the overtop the barrier dunes, and flood the now- island was uninhabited takes on great significance. exposed section of the island. Immense quantities of We can no longer cope with the normal, dynamic sand are deposited by the flood water on the course of events; therefore, we try to control them lowlands and marshes behind the dune, burying the artifically. The line of beach-front cottages or grass under several to 20 or 30 inches of sand. Soon, condominiums becomes a line of defense against the often within a year, the grass pushes up from its "encroaching sea. t buried members and recolonizes the surface. Yet, After construction of a beach-front house, the occupants may soon notice that the very beach that 6The loggerhead turtle is on the Federal endangered species list, as made their house so desirable and expensive is well as those of each State from North Carolina to Texas. eroding away. The occupant has an economic 21 Figure 5. Effect of Groin on Shore Line * A. B. Groin Newly Trapped Sand Constructed Accretes Beach Direction of to Protect B at Expense Along-Shore Current and Sand Movement Beach B of Eroded Beach A Beach Erosion eac Accretion _4 Beach A Beach B 11 _-- Houses @-' 0 ID 1:3 Adapted From Orrin H. Pilkey, et al, How to Live With an Island investment and a place chosen for its desirable qualities, both of which are threatened by the contin- uing erosion. A common solution to this problem is to construct 4 groin extending out from the beach into the ocean (Fig. 5A). This structure is intended to trap sand in the littoral drif t, thus holding and collecting the sand on a specific portion of the beach. This tactic is suc- cessful from the standpoint of the individual whose house is above that beach. But it is a disaster for the downbeach neighbors (Fig. 5B), as illustrated by the Assateague experience (Fig. 4). By building the T 77@ groin, the house owner has inhibited the longshore M transport of the sand, but the wave action that caus- ed it is unchanged. The result is that the downbeach neighbors continue to suffer erosion by waves and its W Vk'N .4-. 777 -,4, @- ensuing sand depletion, without the compensating effect of deposition of new sand moving into their beach from upbeach. The new sand that should be "theirs" is trapped on the other side of the neighbor's groin, while "their" beach undergoes accelerated erosion. So they too build a groin, and the problem is compounded (Fig. 7). The seawall is another structural approach to arresting beach erosion. On those barrier islands experiencing a relatively rapid inland migration (perhaps aggravated by the groin-trapping of sand house was built so near the water in the first place- upbeach), the hapless homeowner who builds too it is often a Pyrrhic victory. The wall deflects the close to the dunes will find the advancing waves force of the oncoming waves into a scouring action breaking closer and closer to the house. In many that removes the berm and beach (Fig. 6). What re- cases, this entirely removes what was once a broad mains of the once gently sloping sand beach is often beach and undermines the house's supports. The an ugly, flat, unusable terrace exposed to the crash- purpose of the seawall, which runs parallel to the ing waves and extending to the very base of the wall. beach, is to interpose a physical barrier between the It is also a temporary victory. Unless the seawall is so oncoming waves and the property to be protected. In large as to dwarf both the beach and the waves, as in some cases, the wall does halt erosion, at least for a the case of the enormous seawall at Galveston, the while, But f rom the standpoint of esthetics and beach wall itself is soon attacked by the waves and is even- recreation-presumably the reasons for which the tually undermined. A seawall can at best delay the 22 IA#@ Figure 6. Effect of Seawall on Beach island. Most of us are familiar with the travel brochure aerial photo of the beach that shows the endless row of hotels and high and massive buildings that extend from bay to ocean, each with its own groin built out into the ocean (Fig. 7). The photo also shows the waves splashing on the hotel seawalls, and in some cases at the very base of the buildings them- selves. In spite of the long succession of groins, what broad, sandy beach spreading 200 to 300 was once a feet in front of the hotels has virtually disappeared. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently A. Seawall Built to Protect Beach Front engaged in a beach erosion and hurricane protection Property project along nine miles of Miami Beach. The pro- ject, initially requested by local interests, planned by the Corps of Engineers, and authorized and funded by Congress, calls for rebuilding the beach over several years' time by pumping 14 million cubic yards of sand onto the beach from the ocean bottom. The current (1978) cost of the project is estimated to be $65 million. The local interest's share of the pro- ject is $30 million, based on the percentage of public and private beach frontage involved. Even after such massive sand placement, the Corps recognizes the need for continued nourishment at the rate of B. Subsequent Beach Erosion Due to 190,000 cubic yards per year in order to maintain Deflected Wave Energy that which will have been rebuilt. Because main- erosion, it cannot prevent it. tenance of the beach is important to this area as an A third, non-structural means of attempting to im- economic and recreational resource, the Corps pede or prevent the natural processes of beach estimates that the benefits of this project continue to change is that of beach and dune restoration (or outweigh the costs. However, it should be noted that nourishment). Sand dredged from either the bay or excessive public and private investment is often re- ocean bottom is hydraulically deposited on the quired to protect extensive developments on barrier beach, thus replacing sand that had been removed by islands. erosion. This is neither a simple nor inexpensive What happened gradually to Miami Beach often operation, as can be seen from the experience of the happens suddenly and violently. In October 1977, beach nourishment project at Miami Beach. for example, 50-knot winds from a tropical storm What happened to Miami Beach is the United sent 15-foot high waves crashing against Ocean States' best example of what not to do on a barrier City, Maryland, another heavily developed barrier 23 island. Large sections of beach were washed away Figure 7. Groins and Beach Erosion and at least one high-rise building's parking lot and at Miami Beach sidewalk were dangerously undermined. The city then made a rather quixotic attempt, with rented bulldozers, to restore the beach by pushing sand ......... back from the ocean. The problem was created when condominiums ... . ..... were allowed to be constructed on top of and in f ront of the primary dunes, which might naturally have absorbed the impact of storm waves. What was once a quiet area of summer homes and a few res orts has become a battleground between man and nature. That nature is winning is axiomatic; that man has the technological skills to protect what has now become an area of high economic investment is also certain. The cost to adjacent areas, however, is another ques- tion. The fact is that substantial effort and many dollars will now be required to protect another substantial investment that perhaps should never have been allowed in the first place. Ocean City has been placed in a precarious posi- tion. On the one hand, it has the huge investment in ............ . ..... money and prestige represented by its condomin- iums and tourist attractions; on the other it faces the insuperable natural processes that were ignored (Facsimile) when the condominium construction boom of the 1960's and 70's was under way. As an indication of that boom, the number of dwelling units constructed per year increased from 480 in 1967 to over 4,000 in 1972 -a ninefold increase in just five years. The ulti- mate futility of both its barrier island land use policy MEN' and its attempt to halt erosion with bulldozers is apparent from the events of the winter of 1977-78. Although the bulldozers have been working for Y months to restore the beaches so badly eroded in Oc- tober, several intervening storms have already removed most of the new sand, and the beaches are substantially the same as they were following the October storm .7 There is a serious and portentous double irony in tect the areas behind them, as they are intended to these attempts to stabilize the barrier islands. First, a do. Not only does this embolden the present dune stabilization project, the construction of a sea- residents to stay, but the new "safety" encourages wall or groin, or the nourishment of an eroded beach yet more development along the beach, which soon can provide the embattled residents of the island requires additional groins and seawalls. The second with a false sense of security and a false image of per- point is that expensive, unplanned emergency manence. restoration of an eroding beach, as illustrated by the We tend to trust engineers and to have faith in experience of Ocean City, is at best temporary. The technological solutions. We assume that seawalls loss of the restored beach is the inevitable result of and groins and beach restoration projects will pro- the same erosion that caused the loss of the original beach, because the same forces are still operating. 7Washington Post, April 30, 1978. 24 A 51 7 "Whether a stable dune line is built with sand fences and Simply stated, the barrier island doesn't take beach grass, or by dredges, bulldozers, and beach grass, physical alterations lightly, especially in its more the results are the same: a wall against the sea. The idea is to fragile zones. With only slight modifications to its get that dune line up as high as possible, and not to allow dunes, beaches, water table, or marshes, it no longer any messy natural processes such as the wind blowing the functions as it used to nor does it have the same sand around, the ocean overtopping dunes, or the beach capacity to adjust to environmental exigencies. Left continuing to retreat. In other words, total artificial con- alone, however, the island rides out the storm. It trol of the coastline is attempted. The trouble is, it doesn't work . `8 goes through cycles of beach buildup and beach ero- sion, of dune advance and dune retreat, and of inlet The barrier islands seem to be wrapped in an formation and inlet closing, and while the entire enigma. They exist in and are the products of an en- island moves gradually toward the mainland or vironment of high energy and wide oscillations, yet along the coast in response to the enormous forces they are fragile when touched by man's works. Bar- acting upon it, it continues to provide us with out- rier islands have evolved with their environments standing recreational, esthetic, and fish and wildlife and are part of them. They have the means for values. These benefits are free to society. adjusting to the conditions presented by those In view of all this, we must consider a question environments, but their adjustment to the works of that has wide ranging policy, economic, and safety man is sometimes detrimental to neighboring islands implications: is urban, residential, or commercial or to the system as a whole. development a prudent use of barrier islands7 'Paul Godfrey and Melinda Godfrey, Barrier Island Ecology of Cape Lookout National Seashore and Vicinity, North Carolina, (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1976), p. 3. 25 Chapter 4 Why Should the Barrier Island Ecosystems Be Protected? 7- 7 tion, provides the possibility of serious public % N@_ - danger and cost. Development and/or protection of some islands may either reduce or increase pressures on other islands in other states. Similarly, the eco- system and its economic benefits extend across state lines. In instances of conflict, only the national gov- ernment may be able to mediate disputes between A iijk , V -"-@7L * -V@- 1A States. It has already been accepted as policy that the 7 @Flol problems and costs that ensue from the unwise use of specific classes of dangerous or geographically sensi- tive areas, such as floodplains and wetlands, are of national, not merely local, interest because people all over are affected. It follows that the Federal role is The foregoing descriptions of those qualities and to prevent (or at least not contribute to) these prob- characteristics that make the islands different and of lems and costs. the often destructive effects that result from develop- ing the islands lead us to the questions: why should "Protection" of the Barrier Islands man-caused changes and impacts on the barrier island ecosystems be prevented? Put another way, President Carter, in his 1977 Environmental Mes- why are the barrier islands important enough to sage, called for a plan for "protecting the islands." justify different treatment from other land areas? There are two ways to define "protection" as it ap- The answer to these questions provides us with plies to the islands; it is important to know the what could be termed the national interest in the bar- distinction and to understand which one is intended rier islands. This national interest has two closely by this report. related aspects. First, the barrier islands offer super- This islands' dynamic responses and relationships lative resources and values that should be preserved do not stop when we build on the islands. The beach for the common benefit. These resources and values, continues to recede in the direction in which it has such as numerous land and water animal species and always receded, now toward the rows of recently their habitats, the physical protection afforded by constructed beach homes. The groin built to stop the the barrier dunes, and outstanding places for out- erosive drift of sand from the beach doesn't stop the door recreation are usually destroyed when the process, but merely shifts the unwanted results to the islands are altered and their natural processes dis- neighboring beach that should have received the rupted. People from all over the nation travel great trapped sand. Inlets continue to be cut by storm distances to enjoy the wildlife and recreation of the waves, to migrate down the island, and to shoal up, islands, thin slivers of land on the edge of the con- regardless of what roads, shopping centers, or con- tinent. dominiums have been built in their paths. Hurricane Second, the unwise development of the barrier and storm waves overwash the dunes, flood the islands, with its resultant ecological-geologic disrup- island, and deposit large quantities of sand on the 26 lowland and in the bay, destroying, damaging, and protect man and his structures by preventing natural injuring nonstorm-adapted features that lie in their phenomena, attempts to prevent the damage by path. From the vantage point of the cottage or motel placing man's communities in safer locations and by owners who see their property threatened by water preventing destructive tinkering with the islands' or sand, these are examples of "nature on the ram- valuable resources. This report considers both page." The response generally is to build the dunes aspects of the protection question. higher, construct seawalls and groins. In other words, as in the case of Ocean City and Miami Hazards of Permanent Occupancy Beach, the idea is to employ engineering works to correct the problem. Furthermore, the feeling is that Hazards to permanent human occupation exist in the Federal government ought to do it, "they owe us many regions and settings. The west coast is subject the protection." The first definition of "protection" is to earthquakes, the midwest to tornadoes, and nor- that the Federal government should prevent natural, thern New York to enormous snowfalls. But the hur- regular, and expected events; erect barriers that will ricane, which is one of the greatest hazards to inhabi- stop the unwanted erosion and overwash and tants of a barrier island, differs from other hazards in thereby protect our buildings. In addition, it should nature and degree. It is the second most destructive, help pick up the pieces, using disaster relief, and put violent, and costly natural event that occurs on an them back together with Federal assistance when the annual cycle. On the average, two hurricanes per engineering projects do not achieve the expected year strike the U.S. coasts and cause more combined results. In essence, this method transfers general tax damage than any other type of natural disaster. 10 dollars from programs beneficial to many to projects These storms begin in the southern North Atlantic beneficial to a few. or Caribbean, gain energy in the warm subtropical The second definition of "protection," that ad- waters, and roar northward toward the North vocated by the President, addresses the problem American coasts. Their paths and landfalls are un- from the standpoint of the island itself. It suggests predictable, and no spot on the Gulf or Eastern Coast that there is no "problem" with storms or waves or is immune. Hurricanes have struck the shore all the erosion until man builds on the island. Rather than way from the Texas-Mexico border to Maine. These attempts to control nature and to defend houses, this storms derive their energy from the warm seas, and view would prevent putting houses in fragile and dissipate it as they move inland. Their powerful dangerous spots in the first place. This concept was winds are generally in their most destructive state well expressed by Orrin Pilkey, Jr., et al. in a book when they blow on land, precisely at the location of entitled How to Live With an Island: the barrier islands. Much of the destructive power is transmitted by the ocean water itself in the form of It is important that we understand (how an island works) wind-driven waves and hurricane surges, a rapidly and that dwellers not get in the way of the island as it moving plateau of water raised above the surround- naturally evolves. Onceyou understandan island, you can ing sea level by the extremely low atmospheric pres- see that it doesn't need saving, except perhaps from man. sure of the hurricane's eye. Wind, waves, and surges The islands are in no danger from nature. They will res- strike hardest at coastal locations, and with especial- pond in a perfectly predictable way to whatever nature ly disastrous results for settlements on the usually throws at them. I low-lying barrier islands. In addition to the idea of protecting man and his In addition to these destructive forces, natural in- structures, this second definition includes the protec- lets or man-made channels of the islands often tion of the functional integrity of the islands' receive additional impact: storm waves formed in valuable ecologic, fish and wildlife, storm barrier, deep water create a particularly powerful water ram and recreational resources from the disturbances and as they move up the shallow channels. Few struc- destruction that accompany unwise development. tures can withstand such force. This definition of "protection," rather than trying to We cannot forecast with much certainty when the next hurricane will occur, nor where it will strike the 'Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., and Robb Turner, How to LiDe With an Island (Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina 10jerry L. Machemehl, in Coastal Zone '78, Vol. 111, (New York: Department of Natural and Economic Resources, 1975), p. 9. American Society of Civil Engineers, 1978), pp. 1453-1468, 27 W/ 'T M coast. But, as Dr. Pilkey remarks, "we know there To understand what is meant by "increased catas- will always be a next hurricane and we know what trophe potential," one need merely observe recent the next hurricane will do."" With the exception of activity along that coast. Hurricane Carla (1961) the Virginia-Maryland-Delaware-New Jersey shore, eroded some shorelines as much as 800 feet, yet which has been relatively free from full-force hur- along that coast numerous subdivisions and trailer ricanes,12 all sections of the Gulf and East Coasts courts have, since 1961, been built within 300 or 400 have been repeatedly subject to hurricanes and sub- feet of the beach. Hurricane Beulah (1967), among hurricane tropical storms. A few sections of the coast others, cut a large washover channel across South are worth mentioning in this regard: Padre Island, yet-despite the fact that subsequent Portions of the Texas Coast are disasters waiting to hap- storms tend to reopen old washover channels-a pen. According to recent research, the catastrophe poten- major development has since been built on that very tial due to hurricanes striking coastal areas has increased site. Twenty-seven hurricanes struck Texas between dramatically. The growing amount of coastal develop- 1900 and 1972. ment, the natural hazards of subsidence and erosion, the Dr. Robert Simpson of the National Hurricane Center in disregard for natural protective elements on the coast, plus Miami says Florida is building toward a major hurricane poor locational decisions and construction practices, are disaster which could reach the proportions of an unbeliev- all causes of this increased catastrophe potential. 13 able catastrophe. He states that the mass evacuations which have saved so many lives in past hurricanes would "Pilkey, et aL, How to Live with an Island, p. 1. be virtually impossible under existing conditions. The in- 1213ut not from "spent" hurricanes, reduced to a tropical storm, creased population densities and inadequate evacuation which often move north parallel to the coast after having struck arteries would create such staggering traffic jams that peo- the coast farther south. Nor are they free of northeasters, violent ple would just get in each other's way, and accidents due to non-tropical storms which hit this section of the coast with bad driving conditions and flooded highways would block notable destruction. traffic and jeopardize everybody's chance of escape. 14 "Pictorial Atlas of Texas Coastal Hazards, Texas Coastal and 14Enfo Newsletter, Environmental Information Center of the Marine Council, 1977, p.2. Florida Conservation Foundation, Inc., July 1973, p. 9. 28 Figure 8. Hurricane Probability on the East and Gulf Coasts 58 5 @O 57 0 CO 56 56 tK 55 54 54 53 0- 52 CO NZ 3 \ 52 51 (0 N 50 5" 49 CO N 50 48 N 47 49 0 046 47 (IV 46 45N 944 45 44oa43 OD 42 43 42 40 4141 399(0 (IV 38341) 0 37 37 15Z 36 036 5 35 Vy 34 13 is 19 33033 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 0 20 32 31 4, 9 321NLO 5 0 0 10* 13 14 15 16 17 21 30330 CO Lo 3 4 8 9 .3 9 rc) 1314 7 6 7 18 19 22 23 29 '19 LO r 7 ro 20 24 26 2 25 29 (D 0 21 021 N 22 26 q, 4 All Hurrica s 4 232425 ""5 40 23 Great H ricanes 7 5 9 13 724 0 859 -1 The probability (expressed in percent) that a hurricane For example, segment 22 in southwest Florida: In a given (winds exceeding 73 MPH; shown on inside row) or a year, there is a 4% likelihood that a hurricane will strike great hurricane (winds exceeding 125 MPH; shown in out- within that 50 mile segment, and a 2% likelihood of a side row) will occur in any one year in a 50 mile segment great hurricane. of the coastline. (After Simpson and Lawrence, 1971) Florida, especially its southeastern coast, is prob- ably the most hurricane-prone area of the country (Fig. 8). Forty-three hurricanes struck Florida bet- ween 1900 and 1960. During that period, the longest interval without one was four years. Between 1900 and 1975, the low-lying coastal areas of the State suf- fered approximately $1.5 billion of damage. Yet it has been nearly two decades since the last major hur- ricane struck southern Florida-a period which has seen the rapid development of coastal areas". It is estimated that today, due to the extensive develop- ment of recent years on the low mainland coast and the barrier islands, the damage that could be inflicted by one major hurricane would approach the 75 year total. - In Florida, as in Texas, a large percentage of the coast is paralleled by low barrier islands. Bogue Banks is a North Carolina barrier island 4@ located to the west of Cape Lookout, and has a long history of hurricane damage. During one seven-year period (1953 to 1960), Bogue Banks was either hit or seriously affected by eight hurricanes. In 1955, Con- nie, Diane, and lone hit the Banks within five weeks. Since 1960, when Donna caused $1,600,000 damage to the island, it has not been hit. This is a hurricane- @of free period apparently without precedent. 17 It is ironic, potentially tragic, and also one of the reasons aging the formation of new inlets and washover for the current concern for more enlightened land use on the barrier islands, that what amounts to a major channels. On many islands, recent construction has construction boom has taken place on Bogue Ban occurred in filled low areas and previous washover during the same period, as if this unusual inte - channels, areas where future flooding is certain to regnum were a permanent change of climate that has recur under hurricane or northeaster conditions. eliminated hurricanes from the island's future. Construction has also occurred on top of the dunes, As awesome as they are on the mainland, hurri- the most open and exposed place on a barrier island. canes have an even greater effect on the barrier Another feature of recent barrier island development island because of the physical character of the islands is the proliferation of mobile homes. When placed in and human alteration of them. On many islands, the exposed locations, their structural fragility and only physical defense that residences and other tenuous fastening to the ground make these struc- structures have against storm waves, tides, and tures almost defenseless against the flooding, wind, surges, is the barrier dune system. And yet these very and violent changes in air pressure associated with dunes have often been leveled purposely to provide hurricanes. building sites, or have been leveled through careless Notwithstanding the severity of these problems, treatment, as with dune buggies. Borrow pits, which the single problem that most worries public safety are dredged or excavated for building material, and officials is that of escape. Everything about the hurri- artificial boat channels and marinas provide ready- cane emergency tends to thwart the safe egress of the made paths of least resistance for the storms, encour- population from a barrier island. On many barrier islands the roads are extremely low, often only eight "Hurricane David did come ashore at about the mid-point of the to 10 feet above mean sea level. Even where people Florida coast in August 1979. inhabit higher ground, the escape road often must "The Florida CoaWl Man2gemprit Program Workhop Draft, traver5e the low ground, It is obvious that these low- Department of Environmental Regulation, 1977, pp. 16-17. lying roads will be flooded. Even if the flooding is in 17pilkey, et aL, How to Live With an Island, p. 6. one spot, that is sufficient to trap all those who have 30 evacuate the island's 10,000 residents. White and Haas have pointed out some of the things that are likely to go wrong in this fragile escape system dur- inga hurricane."' For one thing, it is farfrom certain that the residents will be warned 10 hours in advance of the storm's landfall, and even if they are, the sea normally begins to rise in the path of the storm five or six hours before landfall. This would be terribly disruptive on Key Biscayne, where sections of the approach roads to the causeways are only two feet above mean sea level. Second, the terrible driving conditions occasioned by high winds, rain, and moving water, plus the confusion and fright of the situation, could lead to impassable congestion, ac- cidents, and mechanical failures. Finally, the draw- 6ridge itself is a weak link. In times of storm warn ings many commercial vessels and barges pass under or by the bridge seeking shelter in the Miami River. Since the water traffic has the right-of-way at the crossing, the bridge would probably be opened to allow its passage. It is sobering to note that drawbridges occasionally jam in the open position under normal conditions. Also, on several occa- sions, barges have jackknifed while passing through the raised Rickenbacker drawbridge and jammed its not yet passed. In addition to flooding, these roads mechanisms. may be destroyed outright, either by the force of the One final factor acts to increase the hurricane floodwaters smashing against them or from under- hazard. Because of the cyclical nature of climatic mining of the sand. Even if the roads remain secure, events, the last 25 years have been relatively free of the fleeing vehicles from all sections of an island hurricane activity. Reference has been made to the must converge on one or two bridges or causeways, current 17-year pause in hurricanes at Bogue Banks, creating a potentially lethal bottleneck. located on the mid-Atlantic coast. The same is true Sanibel island, Florida was swept by seven to elsewhere: Texas, which was hit repeatedly by hurri- eleven foot tides during a hurricane in 1921, when it canes until around 1950, received fewer in the 60's, had relatively few inhabitants. Now, after a period with only Carla, Cindy, and Beulah, and has had of intense development, the population is approx- nothing since Delia in 1973. Southern Florida, his- imately 13,000. Sanibel is connected to the mainland torically the most hurricane-prone section of the by one bridge and causeway. Assuming that the coasts, has not been hit by a hurricane since Betsy in island residents and visitors could negotiate the 1965. Add to this the fact that the coasts have seen a dangers between their lodgings and the bridge, their major population and construction boom during the chances of crossing to the mainland are still slim. A same period. It is estimated that 80 percent of current portion of the road to the mainland is only four feet coastal area inhabitants have never experienced a above mean sea level, major hurricane, 19 nor have their homes. When the Key Biscayne, Florida is a highly-developed resi- next hurricane hits, it is these same people who, if dential community on low ground just south of Miami Beach. It is connected to the mainland at Cor- "Gilbert White and J. Eugene Haas, Assessment of Research on al Gables by the two-mile long Rickenbacker Cause- Natural Hazards, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1975), pp. way over Biscayne Bay. The causeway is parted in 29-36. the center by a drawbridge. It has been estimated 11H. Crane Miller, "Coastal Flood Hazards and the National Flood Insurance Program," Department of Housing and Urban that at least n ine to 10 hours would be needed to D ... lopment, 1977, p. i. 31 they will accept the fact that hurricanes are destruc- finally acknowledged the true nature of the place, tive, dangerous storms, will have to heed the frantic and prudently withdrew to safer sites on the warnings, do what can be done to secure their mainland. Their decision was not only wise, but belongings, and drive their vehicles over the timely, for today the site that once contained some flooding roads and congested bridge away from their 40 to 50 homes, a school, a church, and 250 people is barrier island. somewhere out in the ocean, Hog Island having con- Hurricanes are certainly the greatest threat to tinued its relentless migration. Another such case is humans on the barrier islands, but they are not the that of Edingsville, built around 1900 on Edisto only one. Northeasters also batter the coast, often Island, S.C., the site of which has also been com- with great destruction and occasionally with wind pletely eroded from the island .22 velocities rivaling those of a hurricane. 10 In March of Although the barrier island, as a class and in com- 1962, for example, an especially violent northeaster parison to most mainland areas, is a hazardous place lashed the entire coast from Georgia to Long Island. to live, there are sites on some islands that are safer than other parts of the islands. The types of locations For three days sixty- m ile-an- hour winds -whipped the high already discussed are never safe: beaches, dunes, spring tides across a thousand miles of ocean. Forty-foot washover areas, relict inlets, lowlands, or filled waves pounded the (New Jersey) shore, breached the dunes wetlands. and filled the bay, which spilled across the islands back to But areas that exhibit mature soil profiles and the ocean. When the storm subsided, the extent of the mature vegetative cover probably represent areas disaster was clear. Three days of storm had produced that haven't undergone catastrophic changes for eighty million dollars worth of damage, twenty-four hun- long periods and are therefore reasonably stable. dred houses destroyed or damaged beyond repair, eighty- Likewise, hills or uplands that are high enough to three hundred partially damaged, several people killed and many injured in New Jersey alone. Fires subsequently add- prevent flooding from the maximum predictable ed to this destruction; roads were destroyed, as were height of combined high tide and storm waves are utilities." also relatively secure. It is important to note that most barrier islands are quite low, therefore such Assateague Island, Maryland, which was struck sites are relatively scarce. by the same storm, was just beginning to be Given the hazards of wind, atmospheric pressure, developed. Many roads were destroyed, as well as flood, and unstable land, there are ways of struc- the relatively few homes that had been constructed. turally improving the safety of a building. Such More recently, the great blizzard of February 1978, practices as anchoring the roof to the walls, securely which struck the same coast, eroded beaches in tying the walls to the foundation and to the rafters, Massachusetts, toppling into the surf houses that sat reinforcing the rafters and joists, and reinforcing behind 100-foot wide beaches before the storm. masonry walls can greatly add to a structure's ability The erosive forces that constantly work the to withstand hurricanes." The manner of anchoring islands and reshape them, while neither violent nor the house to the ground is also of critical importance. sudden, also pose threats to the barrier island Although Donna (1960) destroyed almost 2,000 residents. For example, there is the experience of homes and trailers in Florida and seriously damaged Broadwater, a small village that once existed on Hog almost 20,000 more, homes built off the ground on Island, Virginia. The lighthouse that was built there pilings survived both the wind and tide. Those on the in 1852 was lost to the encroaching ocean in the ground, even if well constructed, were destroyed on 1920's. The ceaseless erosion continued to bring the the spot or, if improperly anchored to foundation, breaking surf closer to the resident's homes until they floated away .21 10They are not, however, tropical hurricanes. Rather they are 221,angdon Warner and David Strauss, "Inventory of the Status of mid-latitude storms resulting from the forceful mixing of warm the Barrier Islands of the Southeast," Open Space Institute, 1976, and cold air masses. They are so named because, although the p. 187. storm often moves toward the northeast across the eastern U.S., Z3pilkey, et al., How to Live With an Island, Chapter V. its most destructive winds blow out of the northeast quadrant (i.e., in a southwesterly direction). Enf o Newsletter, p. 4. "Ian L. McHarg, Design With Nature, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday/ Natural History Press, 1969), p. 16. 32 low Reasons for Protecting the Unspoiled Barrier Islands nominated as potential natural landmarks, and recommended to the Secretary of the Interior. On his The preceding are reasons for not developing the approval, they become natural landmarks and are barrier islands. They are not the only reasons for eligible for listing on the National Registry of protecting them. Equally important is the fact that Natural Landmarks. If the owner of the resource there are benefits and values that we receive from the formally agrees to protect the landmark, it becomes islands which are often sacrificed when the islands registered. are developed. The most important benefit is the All of the studies on the Atlantic Coast have been island itself and its amenity values-its landforms, completed, while those on the Gulf Coast are still in vegetation, the animal life that lives on and is pro- progress. To date (February 1978), as an indication tected by it, and the opportunities it affords for out- of the barrier islands' importance as geologic, ecolo- door recreation. gic, and esthetic resources, 74 sites on 68 barrier One reflection of this viewpoint is the Natural islands have been singled out in the screening process Landmarks Program. 25 The purpose of this program (See Appendix Q. Of these, 17 have been officially is to identify physical and biological resources that designated as Natural Landmarks. Thirteen of the 17 possess attributes of national significance and to landmarks have been entered on the Registry and the protect and preserve them. This is achieved through necessary protection agreements signed. Experience systematic studies at the level of biotic provinces or with the program has shown that roughly half the physiographic regions. Features recognized as sites judged to be potential are later found to meet having the requisite outstanding natural qualities are natural landmark criteria. In most cases, the islands have been found to 2'Created by the Historic SitesAct of 1935 and under the authority possess more than one outstanding attribute. Fifty- of the Department of interior, the program was until February one of the 74 were found to be notable in their tidal 1978 administered by the National Park Service. It is now marshes, 41 in their maritime forests and the diver- administered by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Ser- vice. sity of their ecosystems, 39 in their dune communi- 33 ties and their habitats for colonially nesting water- birds, 38 in their raptor habitats, and 36 in providing habitats for rare animal species. Other qualities recognized were those of isolation and pristine con- dition, maritime thicket communities, freshwater ponds, and beach and dune formations. The studies also took note of any influences or actions threaten- ing the integrity or existence of the 74 sites. It is significant that the most often mentioned threat to these nationally significant resources is residential development (with 30 of the sites mentioned in con- junction). In addition to these natural features, the islands 0@ also have much historic and cultural importance. V Not only were they long used and occupied by Native Americans, these outer banks were often the first land sighted and trod by the arriving European explorers, and later became the homes of early settlers. Settlements on some of the barrier islands have survived until the present, and they and their inhabitants have often retained distinguishing cultural characteristics of earlier times, These characteristics are recognizable in language patterns, life styles, building techniques, and attitudes. The islands were (and in some cases still are) im- portant for the location of lighthouses, so vital for warning sailors of the nearby shoals and for helping them to determine their position. Today there are ac- tive and inactive lighthouses that date back as far as 1765, exhibiting the wide range of designs, construc- A tion techniques, and building materials that characterized this architectural form. A closely- related aid to coastal navigation that became a cul- tural feature of the islands was the chain of lifesaving stations created to aid seamen in distress. After per- forming a valuable service to the country, a number 0'. of the stations still exist. Another use of the barrier islands related to their forward location was that of coastal defense. Ship Island, Mississippi, Santa Rosa Island, Florida, and Sandy Hook, New Jersey are but three examples of barrier islands that still contain substantial remnants of fortifications that span a long period of American history. Although much of the physical evidence of suc- cessive occupation and use of the islands-especially that related to the earlier Native Americans-has been lost to erosion and storms, we are fortunate that much remains. Below ground sites, above ground remnants, foundations, and solid structures still abound. As an indication of the important role 34 Ai- _77- % '0 w@e 7 the islands have played in American history and the value Atlantic and Gulf Coast species of fish are development of American culture, 76 sites located directly dependent in some stage of life on conditions on 43 barrier islands have been listed on the National of the estuaries. "26 A marvelous example of this rela- Register of Historic Places (See Appendix D). Includ- tionship is the Apalachicola Bay of northwestern ed are military fortifications, colonial settlements, Florida. This bay, protected by St. Vincent and St. historic structures dating from the 17th through the George Islands, receives a flow of fresh water and a 19th Centuries, lighthouses, and lifesaving stations. supply of nutrients from the Apalachicola River that Three have been judged sufficiently significant to be support a high level of plankton productivity. designated National Historic Landmarks (Sandy Hook Light, Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Brick House It is thus not surprising that the Apalachicola Bay System Ruin, Edisto Island, South Carolina; Spanish Mis- provides over 80 percent of the State's oysters, and serves sion and home of Button Gwinnett, St. Catherine's as one of the most productive areas of blue crab propaga- Island, Georgia). tion along the Gulf Coast of Florida.. . In addition, this We have already discussed the brackish, relatively bay system is a major nursery for penaeid shrimp and a broad range of invertebrates andfinfishes which supply ex- quiet bays and estuaries that lie between the barrier tensi.ve commerct .al and sport fisheries... islands and the mainland, and the way in which they owe their existence and special qualities to the pro- Without the protection afforded these bays by the tection afforded by the islands. These waters, which barrier islands, such productivity would cease, with are a blend of the terrestrial-freshwater systems of obvious consequences for commercial and sport the mainland and the saltwater system of the ocean, fishing. It is important to note that to the extent that are probably one of the richest ecosystems known. Many of the species that use the estuaries and adja- -John Clark, in Barrier Islands and Beaches-Technical Pro- cent marshes as spawning, nursery, and feeding ceedings of the Barrier Island Workshop, The Conservation grounds are important to us for food, sport, and Foundation, 1976, p. 47. -7 education. It is estimated that "two thirds of the top- "Robert J. Livingston, in Barrier Islands and Beaches, p. 87. 35 7' 7@ Ail; 71 the bay bottom is disturbed by bridge construction continent; on their return (depending on their route) and by accelerated sedimentation due to man- the Gulf Coast barrier islands are the first landfall induced island erosion, or by dredging and filling after a wearying trans-Gulf flight, and offer a safe operations, or that the brackish water is altered by harbor during adverse weather. During a cold spell artifically opened or closed inlets, pesticide runoff, in April 1969, for example, 84 species of birds were or sewage effluent, this island protection is dimin- observed on St. George Island, Florida .28 ished. The importance of these lands and waters to both Another benefit of both the islands and their adja- non-migratory and migratory birds (and to U.S. cent marshes and bays is that of providing habitats responsibilities under international agreements to for a large number of birds and other animals. It is protect the latter) has long been recognized by the not a coincidence that the Atlantic Coast barrier U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A large number of islands and bays are important elements of the refuges have been established along the Atlantic and Atlantic flyway, a broad bank of land and coast that Gulf Coasts to preserve the variety of nursery, is used by numerous species of migrating birds in migration, and wintering habitats required by the their semiannual spring and fall migrations. With different visitors and residents: waterfowl, shore- their high productivity of plankton, shell- and fin- birds, and marshbirds. Thirty-one of the refuges are fish, and aquatic vegetation, and because of the tran- located at least in part on barrier island S29 (see Table quil waters protected by the islands, the bays and IV). marshes and island wetlands provide crucial resting The islands also provide habitat for several and feeding areas for migrating water fowl and other threatened or endangered species. The loggerhead birds. At various points, especially along the mid- turtle, previously mentioned in Chapter 3, finds and southern Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast, large numbers of birds find wintering habitat. Some 21lbid., p. 91. migrating birds continue south into the Caribbean -Some refuges are fractionated, with separated sections on the Islands, Central America, and the South American mainland and/or one or more islands. 36 J41 A W.. V, 4- I0011@ nesting beaches on a number of islands. The south- The beach has traditionally been attractive for ern bald eagle and the peregrine falcon have been recreation. This has greatly increased in recent reported on several of the northern islands as have years, with the large increase in the population of alligators and brown pelicans in the south. coastal areas, especially along the south Atlantic and The value of the barrier islands as outdoor recrea- Gulf Coasts, Picnics, swimming, fishing, and tional resources cannot be overemphasized. Each of boating are centered on the beach, but there are the above-discussed values (i.e., natural areas, other popular activities clearly related to the beach historic-cultural sites, and wildlife) has implications environment, including camping, hiking, hunting, for recreation. For example, National Environmen- and nature study-interpretive activities. Due to the tal Study Areas (NESA) have been established on six rapid and extensive residential development of of the National Park Service areaS30 on barrier beaches (both mainland and barrier islands) that has islands in order to take excellent advantage of the occurred in recent years, and because of their prox- islands' natural environments. Environmental imity to large metropolitan areas, the remaining education programs are conducted on these six unspoiled barrier island beaches are under heavy islands, as well as on Gateway National Recreation pressure for recreational use by the public. For exam- Area. These programs, which are made available to ple, in 1956, Cape Hatteras received about 300,000 schools and other interested groups, promote the visits. Twenty years later, approximately 1,800,000 awareness that man is an interacting part of nature. visits were made, an increase of 500 percent. The role The NESA, which may be a natural area or a played by the national seashores (and by any close, modified or manmade area, serves as a resource base available, and unspoiled ocean beach) in providing for students to learn about the environment and their recreation to the urban areas can be readily seen relationship and responsibility to it. from the number of visits made in 1976 to the two National Park System barrier island areas closest to "Cape Cod NS, Fire Island NS, Assateague Island NS, Cape Hat- the major eastern cities: teras NS, Gulf Islands NS, and Padre Island NS. 37 W;k, o Cape Cod NS (Southeast New England)- responsibility, carried out through the establishment 5,018,700 visits and management of national seashores and refuges. o Gateway National Recreation Area At the other extreme are the beaches that support a (New York City)-9,631,400 visits high-density, active, day use. Beach play and swim- ming, with related picnicking, are the major All told, in 1976 the ten NPS-administered barrier benefits. Preservation and interpretation are quite islands3l received an astounding 22,000,000 recrea- incidental. These heavily-used areas tend to be ad- tional visits (Table III). The fact that beaches attract ministered by towns and cities. Between the two ex- visitors for recreation from considerable distances is tremes, State beaches tend to include both the shown by the estimated 70 percent of those visiting wilderness beach, with primitive camping and the Delaware's beaches are from out of State.-" enjoyment of nature and solitude, and the densely- The barrier islands offer a wide range of recrea- packed urban beach with hot dog stands and amuse- tional possibilities. At one extreme is the opportuni- ment rides. ty for wilderness preservation and the extensive low- Two additional points regarding the recreational density use and enjoyment of unspoiled beaches. At use of the barrier island's beaches are worth noting. such places there are opportunities to preserve First, the sandy beach is perhaps unique among land- nature and any extant historical or cultural sites. In- forms in that it can absorb almost limitless numbers terpretation of those values and environmental of visitors without physical deterioration. Due to the education programs are possible. This type of island special qualities of the sand, as well as to its con- and visitor program has usually been a Federal tinual reworking by wave action, the beach does not "Nine national seashores plus Gateway National Recreation erode from foot trampling, nor does it have vegeta- Area. tion that will deteriorate. On Monday morning, 311-etter from David S. Hugg, III, Coastal Management Progr after a peak summer weekend of heavy visitation, the beach is much the same as it was on Friday. Delaware, to Richard R. Gardner, Office of Coastal Z? Management, November 22, 1977. However, the dunes and nesting sites of certain 38 ks L-A: _E@ 75P species of wildlife which are dependent on the sandy Island pipeline in more than 40 places), the provision beach are a different matter. They require protec- of fresh water is 4-5 times more expensive than on the tion, with selected and controlled crossing points to mainland. And, as can be expected, disaster relief the beach. Second, private residential or recreational and recovery costs are higher on the islands. Addi- development along the coast, even though it may not tional costs studied by the Council include those for impinge on the public beach, can effectively close sewage, schools, health, fire protection, and recrea- public access to that beach. tional facilities. There is a fiscal argument against barrier island Because of the important role barrier islands play development: it requires more government spending in both the ecosystem and in the provision of social to provide infrastructure and services on barrier values, and because of the disruption that is caused islands than on mainland sites because more energy by their careless development And improper use, it is must be expended to counteract the natural barriers in the national interest to preserve these barrier to developing the islands. The Texas legislature re- islands, or portions of them, in their undeveloped quested the Texas Coastal and Marine CounciI13 to state. This is intended both to preserve for the public compile a comparison of the costs of development on an important and disappearing natural resource that the islands and the mainland. Although the study provides a variety of environmental and recreational was not completed and has been discontinued, the benefits, and to prevent the needless human suffer- incomplete study showed some tentative results in ing and economic losses that are a certain result of in- three areas. Road construction on Mustang Island tensive development of the islands. cost the same as on the mainland, but routine maintenance costs are more than three times higher. What about the Already Developed Islands? Causeways and ferries add to the cost. Without regard to hurricane damage (Beulah cut the Padre There are fundamental differences of opinion on the issue of barrier island development. Some see devel- 13The address of the Texas Coastal and Marine Council is P.O. Box 13407, Austin, Texas 78711. opment as a greater opportunity for human use (such 39 0- t , I I -t11 -2. 4@e Z as general public recreation) while others view devel- opment as a foreclosing of future options for recrea- tional use by the general public. Whatever the view- point, the fact remains that much damage has already been done to the physical and ecological integrity of many barrier islands. More and more people are living in extremely dangerous places on the islands, where there is little rotection against p hurricanes and northeasters, and from which there is no adequate means of escape in times of emergency. We must acknowledge the likelihood that existing urban, commercial, and residential developments on barrier islands could be laid to waste by future hurri- Aw canes or nortbeasters. Simultaneous with the emer- gency relief and the human suffering, we will be fac- V ed with the question: should the rubble be cleared and rebuilding be allowed, or should the island be put to a different use? Should the Federal govern- _u4Z@,62,1_-Q,@ ment allow public tax dollars to be used to subsidize _'n IF redevelopment of obviously hazardous places? It seems clear that the destruction that occurred in Massachusetts in February 1978, in Ocean City in 1977, and in hundreds of other barrier island disas- ters is ample proof of the mistakes we make in decid- ing where and how to build. To ignore the harsh lessons, to pretend that it can't happen again, to delude ourselves with the idea that a temporary lives and paying for the destruction, should once pause in major hurricanes signals a permanent again encourage or facilitate the rebuilding on the change in climate is to merely ignore the inevitable. same hazardous site seems to be both dangerous and The Federal government heavily subsidizes the fiscally imprudent. Another approach is suggested development of barrier islands, as well as mainland by Orrin Pilkey: sites. The taxpayer then shoulders the main financial burden in times of disaster on the islands (hurricane After the next inevitable storm, (the State should) buy up tracking and warning; dispatch of troops, army the lots where houses once stood and let the shoreline engineers, and Coast Guard patrols to save lives; evolve naturally. Unquestionably, this approach would be provision of emergency housing, food, medical care; cheaper than armouring the shoreline, and we would still insurance payments on property; etc.). That the have a beach to boot. 34 Federal government, on the heels of saving peoples' 34Pilkey, op. cit., p. 25 40 r, hg. -'O@V 'J@ A@ '111WW AMY" - However, to simply adopt Pilkey's reizommenda- adequate planning, to incompatible land uses on ad- tion for State acquisition, without considering modi- jacent non-preserved property, overdevelopment, fications to Federal programs which subsidize and misguided development on islands that are reconstruction, will undoubtedly lead to serious nominally preserved. Barrier island managers have conflicts. learned lessons about the lands and waters they manage, and have recognized deficiencies in their What About the Already Protected Islands? management. In addition, researchers have pro- vided a wealth of data to apply to those lessons and A number of barrier islands have been protected problems. from development and set aside for special purposes. The topic of existing efforts to preserve the barrier Although all of these islands are nominally pre- islands will be examined in the following chapter, served, the actual degree of preservation ranges from and the question of how to improve that preserva- complete to negligible. Current efforts include those tion will be addressed. The point of this section is to of the National Park Service and the Fish and Wild- indicate that the already-preserved islands, as is the life Service, those of State parks and animal refuges, case with the already-developed islands, must be and those of individuals and private groups. Prob- considered in a comprehensive plan f or the islands. lems affecting these efforts range from the lack of 41 Chapter 5 Goverrumental and Private Protection Efforts n"; W 14V @O Ah IMF= '*T .4 % 00 AW 77_7`777 There are many ways to protect a barrier island, and questions of development. This definition applies to there are many parties, private as well as public, that already-developed islands or to those that are are capable of doing it. The meaning of "protection" reasonably expected to be developed. extends from the complete preservation of an island's wilderness values to the protection and Federal Programs maintenance of an island's non-commercial, non- urban character, yet with the necessary infrastruc- In 1962, the rush to the beaches was well under-way, ture and services for public enjoyment. In this and several previously undeveloped barrier islands chapter, one additional meaning is explicit, which were experiencing change. Assateague Island, refers to those methods that aim to limit the amount Maryland35 was undergoing platting and sub- of development, determine where development can 31The Virginia section of the island (the southern tip) had already and cannot take place, and deal with the esthetic been established as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. 00 42 division, and already had a main paved road, un- noted that: paved access roads, and numerous houses con- structed when a March northeaster struck with The severe and extensive storm damage to natural features devastating effects. The only thing that prevented (on Assateague) including the dunes and destruction of the massive destruction that occurred in 1962 in New summer places demonstrates (its) unsuitability for perma- Jersey was the fact that development was just begin- nent development, and the importance for establishment ning. The political response could have been, as it of a program for restoration and protection of natural con- has in the aftermath of many natural disasters, that clitions with compatible public use. dunes should be artifically raised, or seawalls con- structed-that something should be done by the Assateague Island became a national seashore government to prevent future losses to lives and three years later. The devastating storm of March property on Assateague. Instead the response 1962 had two important results: it vividly showed us reflected the environmental awakening of the 1960's: the hazards of developing a barrier island; and it the State and Federal governments acted to preserve gave us another chance to preserve an island that ap- all of Assateague Island as undeveloped parkland. peared to be on the way to development. The mid-section, where the bridge from the main- The post-World War 11 building and population land connects, became a State park, and, with the ex- boom accelerated change on the barrier islands. ception of a few small private inholdings, the Small hamlets and fishing villages became urbanized remainder became Assateague Island National Sea- centers for summer recreation, especially in the cor- shore. ridor from Massachusetts to New Jersey. Later, the Back in 1934 '36 the National Park Service relatively untouched islands from North Carolina surveyed the East and Gulf Coasts, looking for south to Florida came under the same or new pres- seashores worthy of preservation in public owner- sures. Entire residential and vacation developments ship. Among other beaches, some seven barrier were created on previously undeveloped islands. islands were identified as outstanding, including Following the precedent-setting creation of Cape Assateague and adjacent sections of the Eastern Hatteras National Seashore in 1937, nothing hap- Shore (See column 11 Table 1). An immediate result -pened until the 1960's. Then, beginning with the (in 1937) was the establishment of Cape Hatteras as establishment of Cape Cod National Seashore in the first national seashore. Nothing more happened 1961, a busy 14 years brought nine new barrier for almost 20 years. Then, in 1955, a second survey island units into the National Park System .39 was made for the same purpose and 15 barrier Although each of the national seashores maintains islands were recommended as outstanding, in- barrier islands in public ownership and protects cluding Padre Island, Texas, and Bogue Banks, them against the large-scale, intensive development North Carolina, which had previously been recom- that has occurred on other barrier islands, they mended in 1934 (See column 2, Table 1). It is in- display a considerable degree of variety in develop- teresting to learn why Assateague was not recom- ment, management, and public use. Gateway Na- mended again: the field people noted that tional Recreation Area, at one extreme, is located in Assateague in 1955 was already undergoing sub- the New York City area and serves as an extension of stantial change, that its "advanced stages of real that city's park system. Cumberland Island National estate development appear to preclude the possibil- Seashore, at the other extreme, is almost completely ity of this area being set aside for public recreational undeveloped, is far from large population centers, use."" Seven years later, the effects of the 1962 and lacks bridge access. storm, in destroying homes and roads, served to resurrect earlier hopes of preserving the island in a "Seashore Preservation and Recreation Opportunities* and Storm natural state. An emergency survey by the NPS of Damage, (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, April 1962), the northeast coast immediately after the storm p. 21. 16Also reported as having taken place in 1935, "Six of these were new national seashores which, as shown in col- umn 3 of Table I, had been recommended in one or both of the 37A Report on the Seashore Recreation Area Survey of the Atlan- NPS studies. The other three units were Cape Lookout National tic and Gulf Coasts, (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, Seashore (1966), Gateway NRA (1972), and Canaveral National 1955), p. 105. Seashore (1975). 43 Table 1. Results of the 1934 and 1955 NPS Surveys Barrier Island Areas Recommended Those Preserved Not Preserved National Wildlife 1934 1955 National Seashore Refuge Other Eastern Shore, Md. .. ....... ...... Assateague 1. (1965) ChincoteagueNWR Assateague St. Park Hatteras, N.C. . I . I...... .....I Cape Hatteras (1937) Santa Rosa, Fl. ... I. -.. @ ........ Gulf Islands (1971) Padre Island, Tx. Padre Island, Tx. Padrelslands (1962) Sapelo Island, Ga. ........ I... -.. I .. ........ ......... .............. State Wildlife Refuge Barnegat, N.J. ............ I ...... ........ I........ ....I.............. Island Beach St. Park Private/Partially Developed Bogue Banks, N.C. Bogue Banks, N.C. .... I I ...... I.... ............. ......... Priv@te /Developed Great Beach, Ma. CapeCod (1961) Cumberland I., Ga. Cumberland (1972) Fire Island, N.Y. Fire Island (1964) St. Joseph Pen., Fl. ............... I... .......... - ..... State Park Parramore I., Va. ............ ... ...........I .... Na ture Conservancy Mosquito Lagoon, FI . ....... ........... Merri t t I., NWR Popham/St. John, M e. ........... I.... .... ..... Popham Beach St. Pk. Remainder-Private/Developed Shinnecock Inlet, N.Y. ..... ... ........... ................... ............. Private/Partially Developed Smith I., N.C. .... .......... .... I I................. ....... Private/Partially Developed Debidue I., S.C. ... ............. ... ......... ...... .......... ........ Private/ Undeveloped Brazos I., Tx. ............ -.1 .. ........ .. ...... -- .......... Private/ Undeveloped Kiawah I., S.C. . I ........ ........ ........ .......... Private/ Developed Marco I., Fl. ........ ... ........ .............. ... ... ............. Private/ Developed National Park System and by private owners (4 %). The barrier island units administered by the Na- The National Park Service's (NPS) primary respon- tional Park Service occur at fairly regular intervals sibilities in protecting barrier islands are associated on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Massachusetts with its stewardship of nine national seashores, one to Texas. Except for Wright Brothers National national recreation area, one national monument, Monument, which was established by Presidential and part of one national park (Fig. 9). Under Proclamation in 1927, the remaining 11 units were authorities contained in the National Park Service's authorized by separate acts of Congress. These Acts 1916 Organic Act, these units of the National Park set forth the specific purpose of each unit as well as System are administered to ensure long-term protec- constraints and obligations in its administration. tion and preservation of natural and cultural The latter legislative provisions are a major consid- resources. eration in the preparation of plans which establish Wright Brothers National Memorial, on the site of future management strategies f or each unit. the first powered flight, shares Bodie Island, North The recreational use of these NPS units reflects Carolina with Cape Hatteras National Seashore. several factors. One is proximity to urban centers: Everglades National Park, Florida includes Gateway NRA, although one of the most recently- mangrove islands. Some of the seashores, such as established units, drew over 9 million visits in 1978, Cape Cod, Fire Island, and Cape Hatteras, exist side mainly from the adjacent New York City environs, by side with towns. Other seashores have only scat- and Cape Cod, close to the Rhode Island-Boston tered residences and camps. Although the total population centers, drew more than 5 million. authorized acreage 40 is 717,383 (as of December 31, Another factor is accessibility: those units that are 1976), only 78 percent of that is owned in fee by the more remote or lack bridge access (Cape Lookout, NPS (see Table 11). The remainder is held by the NPS Cumberland Island) draw fewer visitors. Only in less than fee (1 %), by other public agencies (17 36,400 visits were made to Cumberland, which is dif- "The number of acres within the seashore boundaries. ficult to get to. A third factor is public familiarity, 44 Figure 9. Locations of Barrier Island-Related Units of the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service T X R. Carson NW R X Parker R. NWR Cape Cod NS X Monomoy NWR Morton NWR x X Ningret NWR e'%4ire 1. NS I Gateway NRA X Brigantine NWR Assateague 1. NS X Chincoteague NWR X Fishermans 1. NWR X Back Bay NW R Wright Bros. N. Mem. X Pea 1. NWR ,,"Cape HiAteras NS Cape Lookout NS X Cape Romain NWR X Tybee NWR X Wassaw NWR St. Marks NWR X Blackbeard 1. NWR St. Vincent NWR X Wolf 1. NWR 'Cumberland 1. NS G_u ff- F N S X X Cedar X Merritt 1. NWR X Breton X Keys NWR NWR Canaveral NS Chassahowitzka X X Pelican 1. NWR X Aransas NWR NWR X Hobe Sound NWR Passage Key NWR X Padre 1. NS Pine 1. NWR X Ding Darling NWR X Everglades NP with the earlier established seashores showing steady values, and historic events and structures that have visitation growth through the years (see Table III). been referred to in previous chapters. The recreational opportunities provided by the na- The National Park Service has undertaken and tional seashores run the gamut of beach activities: sponsored a multi-faceted program of research swimming and beach play, surf and bay fishing, and which continually expands our understanding of the shell f ishing. barrier island environment and the unique con- Hiking, camping, and bike riding are also avail- straints the environment places on development and able. Equally important, both in terms of visitor en- use. With respect to barrier islands administered by joyment and educational value, are the interpretive the National Park Service, the research findings have programs that deal with the human history and demonstrated the inability of these areas to support natural history of the islands, describing and show- the amount of permanent development and public .'@(XF a,-,, I. C X Par k., F Cap. C. X M. x ing the natural functions, ecological-geographical use typically envisioned at the time the units were 45 14 Oil legislatively authorized. Management objectives are the bald eagle, brown pelican, whooping crane, and continually being revised to point future use of the peregrine falcon. barrier island units in the direction of less permanent Most of the animals, excluding the bog and logger- development, less manipulation of natural pro- head turtle, have been listed. Many of the plants cesses, and increased opportunities for unstructured have not. In any event, it is important that the inven- recreation related to appreciation of the natural en- tory and listing of endangered species on barrier vironment. Management plans now in preparation islands be conducted quickly. It is also important to for nine of the 12 barrier island units reflect a delineate areas of critical habitat for these species, generally conservative approach to development Presently, few such areas of critical habitat have and public use that was born of an awareness of the been identified under Fish and Wildlife Service fragility and vulnerability of these resources and the regulation. That process should be accelerated since dynamic nature of the forces acting upon them. The the designation of critical habitat gives the En- only exception is Gateway National Seashore, where dangered Species Act (ESA) its most definitive the provision of facilities for intensive structured thrust. In short, it is important to have a complete in- recreation is a major objective. ventory of endangered plants and animals, and a carefully documented delineation of critical habitats Fish and Wildlife Service on barrier islands. The Service has primary responsibility for imple- The other major Federal effort to preserve and mentation of the Endangered Species Act. Section 7 manage the barrier islands is that of the Fish and of the ESA42 requires all Federal agencies to take Wildlife Service (see map, Fig. 9, and list, Table IV). whatever action is necessary to insure that their ac- Thirty-one National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) have tivities will not further jeopardize an already en- been established along the East and Gulf coasts, dangered species of plant or animal, or result in the preserving valuable breeding, nesting, and resting destruction or modification of habitat critical to the areas for many species of fish, shellfish, and wildlife. existence of that species. This is a particularly An important purpose of the refuges is the fulfill- powerful statute, and could be used to protect fragile ment of U.S. responsibilities for migratory birds, as ecosystems such as the barrier islands which nourish established in treaties with Great Britain (on behalf and sustain scarce species of flora and fauna. Fur- of Canada) and Mexico and implemented in the ther, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act as Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, as amended .41 The amended requires each Federal agency to submit to refuges often occupy barrier island fast land, but also the Fish and Wildlife Service development plans that include large areas of the marshes and bays, those would modify water bodies (Guidelines for Navi- exceedingly productive ecosystems that provide key gable Waters Work-U.S. Fish and Wildlife habitats for fish and wildlife. The refuges shelter or Service). provide habitat for a large number of species, in- cluding several that are listed as endangered, such as 41 16 USC 703-711; 40 stat. 755. 4116 USC 1536 46 _4 Table 11: Land Ownership Within Authorized Boundaries of NPS Barrier Island Units (as of December 31, 1976) Total Authorized Federal Acreage Non-Federal Acreage Administrative Unit Acreage In-fee Lessthanfee OtherPublic Private Cape Cod National Seashore 44,600 25,366 378 14,153 4,703 Fire Island National Seashore 19,357 2,794 3,152 12,378 1,033 Gateway National Recreation Area 26,172 20,389 1 5,378 403 Assateague Island National Seashore 39,631 16,078 18 21,849 1,686 Wright Brothers National Memorial* 431 431 0 0 0 Cape Hatteras National Seashore 30,326 30,326 0 0 1 Cape Lookout National Seashore 28,400 17,053 7,170 1,986 2,190 Cumberland Island National Seashore 36,877 15,630 2 13,820 7,425 Canaveral National Seashore 57,627 41,025 0 15,369 1,234 Everglades National Park- 160,868 160,868 0 0 0 Gulf Islands National Seashore 139,175 97,712 0 35,652 5,812 Padre Island National Seashore 133,919 132,203 0 79 1,637 Total 717,383 559,875 10,721 120,664 26,123 % of Total - 78% 1 % 17% 4% *Occupies a small part of Bodie Island just north of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. **Mangrove Islands and labyrinth of waterways on Gulf Coast only. 47 TableIll. Total Visits to NPS-Administered Barrier Islands -1956 to 1978 (in thousands)* Area 1956 1961 1966 1971 1976 1978 Assateague Island - - - 1,662.9 1,866.2 2,135.9 National Seashore Canaveral National - - 715.4 882.6 Seashore Cape Cod National - - 2,803.3 4,188.3 5,018.7 5,025.9 Seashore Cape Hatteras 301.7 547.3 1,133.0 1,696.9 1,817.2 2,043.3 National Seashore Cape Lookout - - - - 26.9 54.3 National Seashore- Cumberland Island - - - - 17.8 36.4 National Seashore Fire Island - - - 445.4 702.2 637.1 National Seashore Gateway National - - - - 9,631.4 9,017.5 Recreation Area Gulf Island National - - - 2,375.3 3,971.6 Seashore Padre Island - - 152.4 904.4 986.1 867.0 National Seashore Total 301.7 547.3 4,115.7 8,89T9 23,140.2 24,671.6 *Total visits includes all entries onto lands or water administered by theNPS (excludesNPS Personnel). **Cape Lookout National Seashore did not begin reporting until June of 1976. Wilderness System (Padre Island and the Florida section of Gulf Islands); five other seashores are either currently In accordance with the provisions of the Wilderness being studied or are programmed for study in the Act of 1964, the Fish and Wildlife Service and nearfuture. National Park Service barrier island units are being Both the NPS and the FWS attempt to manage studied for possible inclusion in the wilderness their barrier islands in such a manner as to protect system. Twelve wilderness areas on wildlife refuges the islands' physical integrity and to prevent their have already been congressionally mandated, rang- unwise development. Although the two agencies ing in size from an 8-acre wilderness area at the have sometimes fallen short of their goal, the islands Pelican Island NWR on Vero Beach, Florida to one of as a group are protected against the major impacts of 29,000 acres at the Cape Romain NWR on Cape development. The number of islands under consider- Island, Raccoon Key, and Bull Island, South Caro- ation for wilderness status is an indication of their lina. Five other refuges have been studied and found unspoiled character. But, consistent with the two to lack qualifications f or the establishment of wilder- agencies' different purposes, there are considerable ness areas, while four others have been found to be differences in the way they manage their units. qualified, and the Department of the Interior recom- mendations are awaiting congressional action. Two National Park Service Policies NPS units have been legislatively designated wilder- ness areas (Everglades and Gulf Island) and the Until recently, the national seashores were managed NPS's recommendations for the establishment of under the National Park Service's guidelines for wilderness areas on Assateague have been sent to recreation areas, as opposed to natural areas and Congress and are awaiting legislative action, Two historic areas. The primary purpose of the seashore national seashores have been found to be unqualified was to provide appropriate recreational oppor- 48 Table: IV. National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) on Barrier Islands, Total Est. Wilderness FY 1978 Public Use (OWs) Refuge Beach Designation Activity Hours Date Area' Length Area Education Other Mission Non-mission Total State Refuge Estab. (acres) (miles) Status' (acres) Interpretation Related Use Related Use Total Visits ME RachelCarson 12/21/66 2,068 - 8 8 9 MA ParkerRiver 12/30/42 4,650 6.5 Proposed' 3,110 62 925 275 1,262 428 Monomoy 06/01/44 2,702 8.5 Established' 2,420 6 105 10 121 26 Nantucket 05101Y73 40 0.4 1 - - 1 1 2 1 RI Trustom Pond 08115Y74 365 0.5 1 5 4 24 33 13 Ninigret 08/12/70 28 0.2 1 1 1 1 Block Island 11/01/73 29 0.3 - - 4 1 3 4 NJ Brigantine 10/05/39 20,197 6.1 Established' 6,681 154 218 13 385 151 MD/VA Chincoteague 05/13/43 9,439 13.3 Proposed7 1,300 186 1,137 593 1,916 1,221 VA Wallopslstand 03/11/71 3,373 3.5 1 - 11 .1 11 Fisherman Island 01/17/69 1,025 2.1 - 13 13 1 1 13 Back Bay 06/06/38 4,589 4.2 P,oposed7 2,165 5 51 12 68 43 NC Pea Island 04/08/38 5,915 12.9 Proposed7 180 14 909 221 1,144 1,037 SC CapeRomain 06/06/32 34,229 19.1 Established' 29,000 14 114 - 128 53 GA Tybeelslan& 05/09/38 100 0.6 Notclualified - - I I (CE owns land) Wassaw 10/20/69 10,070 5.4 - 3 42 19 64 18 Blackbeard Island 02/15/24 5,618 7.4 Established' 3,000 94 4 98 11 Wolf Island 04/03/30 5,126 3.9 Established' 5,126 - 10 - 10 2 Fl, Merritt Island 08/28/63 139,305 - NotQualified - 108 1,450 1,663 3,221 5,380 (NASAownsland) Pelican Island 03/14/03 4,358 - Established' 6 2 so 1 53 26 HobeSound 09/23/68 965 3.9 - 11 114 36 161 86 J.N. "Ding" 12/01/45 4,833 0.3 Established" 2,619 323 713 96 1,132 709 Darling Pine Island 09/15/08 31 - Not qualified - 14 1@ .1 (ownership uncertain) Passage Key 10/10/05 36 0.4 Established' 20 14 4 11 Egmont Key 07/10/74 328 2.3 1 - 1. .4 CedarKeys 07/16/29 379 3.9 Established" 375 22 2 - 24 2 St.Vincent 02/12/68 12,490 8.8 - 1 67 68 5 LA Breton 10/04/04 9,047 27.8 Established' 5,000 - 20 20 3 TX Sea Rim 02/01/79 8,997 5@9 - - - - San Bernard 11/07/68 24,422 6.7 25 3 28 7 Aransas 12/31/37 73,828 26.8 Notclualified 316 578 894 173 (mineral/oil gas rights outstanding) Totals 388,582 179.8 61,002 1,232 6,643 2,972 10,847 9,409 'Includes refuges which are located in CBI Study Units. 440 acres and is located in Maryland. FWS portion totals 1,300 acres and is located @As of September 30, 1978, or, if established later, as of date established. in Virginia. 3There is some question as to whether this island is located in South Carolina or 'Submitted to Congress December 4, 1974. Georgia. 'Established by P,L. 91-504, approved October 23, 1970. 4Four categories are recognized: 1) not qualified (not an island, less than 5,000 acre Tstablished by P.L. 93-632, approved January 3, 1975. roadless area, FWS does not own fee title to the land or other reasons as noted); 2) -Established by P.L. 94-557, approved October 19, 1976. considered, but found unsuitable; 3) proposed (date sent to Congress indicated); "Established by P.L. 92-364, approved August 7, 1972. and 4) established (public law number, date approved indicated). Not all or, in '@Satellite station. Public use information under Chincoteague NWR, some instances, any of a wilderness area is within the CBI Study Unit. 33Satellite station. Public use information under Back Bay NWR. Refuge established after 1964 Wilderness Act enacted, hence, it has not been con- 14Satellite stations. Public use information under J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR. 'idered for wilderness status. 'Part of joint FWS-NPS Assateague Island wilderness proposal. NPS portion totals *Less than 500. tunities, sometimes for large numbers of visitors. could do to arrest the erosion and to prevent storm This has required the construction of roads, utilities, damage. The results seem to prove that it is not visitor centers, campgrounds, and other facilities. worth it, neither in economic nor ecological terms. Not surprisingly, the NPS, like other owners of bar- The newly-approved "Management Policy for rier island property, felt obliged to protect its invest- Shoreline Processes" (See Appendix 5 for complete ments against the islands' natural proclivities to text) states that, as far as possible, and cognizant of move around. Over a period of several decades, and NPS responsibilities that accrue from its previous on a wide variety of barrier island beaches, the NPS policy and actions, there will be no further attempts did all that available money and engineering ability to restrain the natural processes of erosion, deposi- 49 tion, dune formation, and inlet formation. The policy further states that: In development zones, management should plan to phase out, systematically relocate, or provide alternative devel- opments to facilities located in hazardous areas. New facili- ties will not be placed in areas subject to flood or wave erosion hazard unless it can be demonstrated that they are essential to meet the park's purpose, that no alternative locations are available, and that the facilities will be reasonably assured of surviving during their planned life- spanswithout the need of shoreline control measures. A 0 This new policy for barrier island land manage- ment will be implemented on a seashore-by-seashore basis, and will be accomplished through each unit's general management plan. The specific application A. of the policy can be seen in the example of Fire Island W, National Seashore, where the following decisions have been implemented: � The NPS will attempt to restore the island's natural sand movement. � A sand bypass structure will be developed to maintain a more natural littoral drift system on the Seashore. � Sand nourishment of beaches on the Seashore will Fish and Wildlife Service Policies be conditional upon implementation by the Corps of Engineers of sand by-pass systems at the inlets. National wildlife refuges are managed in order to � No inlets will be opened artifically. protect the feeding, hatching, rearing, and habitats � There will be no beach stabilization structures. of a wide variety of animal species. Management � All pedestrian dune crossings will be on elevated practices aim at improving, and sometimes creating, boardwalks, and vehicular dune crossing limited those habitats. Because development would be in- to those essential for access and management. imical to the tranquil, unpolluted, and natural en- � There will be no anti-mosquito ditching in the vironment required by the animals, the refuges are marshes. kept largely natural. Visitors are of secondary, but increasing impor- Each of these policies is subject to a case-by-case tance on the refuges. The seasonal gatherings of im- analysis of the situation, with possible modification mense numbers of migratory birds or the chance to due to extenuating circumstances or long-established see an endangered species are of great interest to the patterns or rights. The policy recognizes the existing public, and more and more visitors are coming to see reality of adjacent property owners' expectation of them. The refuges were created for animals, protection, of the need to maintain services and however, and until the early 1960's were f or the most transportation routes in neighboring communities, part closed to human visitors. The Refuge Recrea- and the need to protect historic zones and some tion Act of 1962 (P.L. 87-714) changed that policy, previously-constructed NPS structures. It recognizes establishing the principle that opening the refuges to that a complete break with past, now discredited the public and permitting recreational activities policies will not always be possible. But it also makes would be desirable as long as the activities were com- clear a new direction for seashore planning and patible with the primary purpose for which the management that takes into consideration the refuges were established-the protection of animals dynamics of barrier island geology and ecology. and their habitats. Within this legal and managerial 50 designation as an "appropriate incidental or secon- originating agency. dary use," a number of the barrier island refuges have been opened to the public. The main recrea- Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants t;onal activities encouraged are those that are wildlife-oriented, such as fishing, use of nature The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service trails, bird watching, and natural history interpre- (formerly Bureau of Ourdoor Recreation) of the tation. All of these activities are consistent with the Department of Interior is responsible for adminis- "incidental and secondary" principle, and are strictly tering the Land and Water Conservation Fund controlled in terms of the number of people engaged (LWCF) program. The Land and Water Conserva- in these activities as well as where and when it oc- tion Fund Act of 1965 43established a fund to increase curs, in order not to disturb animals during such outdoor recreation opportunities for the American critical times as nesting, and to protect fragile or people. The program provides for (1) acquisition of susceptible habitats from adverse impact. lands for Federally-administered parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas (the "Federal side"), Natural Landmarks and National Register Sites and (2) matching grants f or State recreation planning and State and local land acquisition and develop- One additional type of protection provided for ment (the "State side"). barrier island resources by the Federal Government, The Federal side, not less than 40 percent of the although less encompassing and effective than those total Fund, provides money only for the acquisition described above, covers the Natural Landmarks and of national recreation lands. No funds are provided National Register sites found on the islands (see for development, operation, or maintenance. Acqui- Chapter 4 and Appendices 3 and 4). sition programs must be approved by Congress. Natural Landmarks, meeting the criteria for They encompass recreational resources such as na- "significant resources," come under the protection of tional parks, seashores, lakeshores, forests, wild and section 102 of the National Environmental Protec- scenic refuges, and natural and wilderness areas. tion Act. Any Federal agency that intends to carry These areas are administered by the Department of out, fund, license, or permit a project that would Interior's National Park Service, Bureau of Land adversely affect a landmark must circulate an en- Management, and Fish and Wildlife Service, and the vironmental impact statement (EIS) describing the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. probable impacts, means of mitigation, and the The State side, about 60 percent of the total Fund, feasible alternatives to the project as planned. The provides grants to States, and through States to their Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service political subdivisions (cities, counties, towns, etc.) reviews and comments on these EIS's. The final deci- for the acquisition and development of public out- sion is that of the originating agency. Additionally, door recreation areas and facilities. Again, no funds the General Authorities Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-458) re- are available for operation or maintenance. Project quires that the Department of Interior present an- grants must be matched by not less than an equal nually to the Congress a list of Landmarks that are in amount of non-Federal funds. For the purposes of any way threatened. the LW`CF, Community Development Block Grants A similar form of protection is extended to any and Revenue Sharing Funds are not considered item on the National Register, but in this case it is Federal funds and may be used as part of the appli- done so by the explicit mandate of section 106 in the cant's matching funds. These grants may also be Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-665). Any supplemented under certain circumstances by Federal agency, prior to its funding, licensing, or ap- Economic Development Assistance grants. proval of a project must consider the project's effect In order to receive grants from the Fund, the State on sites included in or eligible for inclusion on the or its political subdivisions must develop a compre- Register, and must provide the Advisory Council on hensive outdoor recreation plan, and update and Historic Preservation with the opportunity to com- refine it on a continuing basis. The Fund provides ment on the undertaking. In this case, as in the matching planning grants and technical assistance to preceding, the protection is limited to advice and States to help develop and update comprehensive moral suasion; the final decision resting with the 43PL88-578. 51 z"Z A, tk VV it ar Pi i_@ kkv how Wil outdoor recreation plans. The plan identifies capital program must designate critical environmental areas investment priorities for acquiring, developing, and (coastal erosion is specifically included in the law); protecting all types of outdoor recreational and third, the management program requires prom- resources within a State. It assures continuing ulgation of guidelines on the priority of uses in the opportunity for local units of government and pri- zone. vate citizens to take part in their State's outdoor Under Section 315(1) of the Act, funds are avail- recreation and environmental planning programs, able to aid in acquiring, developing, and operating and it provides a practical tool for coordinating all estuarine sanctuaries. Through FY 1977, five sanc- State outdoor recreation and environmental conser- tuaries had been established in Oregon, Georgia, vation programs. Hawaii, Ohio, and Florida at a cost of $5,900,000, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service including maintenance and operations grants. Fund- figures (1978) show that during the 13 years of pro- ing in FY 1978 will cover only maintenance and gram operation, Federal agencies have spent over operation of existing sanctuaries. Current authority, $128 million in LWCF monies to acquire barrier at an annual level of $6,000,000, expires at the end of island acreage. Additionally, State and local agen- FY 1980. cies have received more than $48 million in matching Section 315(2) provides that: grants to acquire acreage and develop projects located on barrier islands. This figure would prob- The Secretary may, in accordance with this section and in ably be much higher if projects that had conserva- accordance with such regulations as the Secretary shall tion rather than recreation as their primary purpose promulgate, make grants to any coastal state for the pur- -e.g., barrier island acquisition-were given higher pose of... acquiring lands to provide for access to public priority. beaches and other public coastal areas of environmental, recreational, historic, esthetic, ecological, or cultural Coastal Zone Management value, and for the preservation of islands. The amount of any such grant shall not exceed 50 percentum of the cost of In 1972, Congress passed the Coastal Zone Manage- the project involved. ment Act (CZMA). This law provides for coordina- Funding is provided in subsection 318(a)(7) which tion of Federal activities in the coastal zone and the provides for sums, "not to exceed $25 million for appropriation of funds to aid States in coastal plan- each of the fiscal years ending September 30, 1977; ning and research. The program is administered by September 30, 1978; September 30, 1979; and Sep- the Secretary of Commerce through the Office of tember 30, 1980, respectively, as may be necessary Coastal Zone Management (OCZM). for grants under section 315(2) to remain available The Act provides funds for States to develop until expended." As of December 1979, no funds had coastal zone management programs, which must been appropriated for the program. meet guidelines prescribed in the law. Three Although the Act does not specifically address the issue of hazardous areas, States can include a consid- guidelines apply to hazardous zones: first, the eration of hazards in their management programs management program must establish permissible ac- and receive funding from the Federal Government. tivities within the zone; second, the management Further, once a State has an approved plan, Federal 52 programs are required to be consistent with the goals to issue or amend existing regulations/ procedures to and objectives established by the State plan. comply with the Order. These regulations are to be prepared in consultation with the Water Resources Floodplain Management Council, the Federal Insurance Administration, and The Floodplain Management Executive Order of the Council on Environmental Quality. They will be 1977 (Exec. Order 11988) directs all Federal agencies updated as necessary. Coupled with this Order is Ex- to ". . avoid to the extent possible the long- and ecutive Order 11990 on the Protection of Wetlands, short-term adverse impacts associated with the occu- which directs all Federal agencies to "avoid to the ex- pancy and modification of floodplains and to avoid tent possible the long and short term adverse impacts direct and indirect support of floodplain develop- associated with the destruction or modification of ment wherever there is a practicable alternative. . . " wetlands and to avoid direct or indirect support of The Water Resources Council issued Floodplain new construction in wetlands whenever there is a Management Guidelines on February 10, 1978 to practicable alternative." assist agencies in meeting their responsibilities under the floodplain order. Seven of the 12 Departments Environmental Impact 5tatement Reviews and three of seven major independent agencies have published draft or interim procedures in the Federal The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) re- Register. Several subagencies, such as the Army quires all Federal agencies to take into account the Corps of Engineers, Soil Conservation Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service, have also published pro- value of environmental preservation in their activi- posed procedures. The procedures clearly state the ties, and it prescribes certain procedural measures to Federal government's policy prohibiting the ensure that such values are fully respected. An degradation of floodplains. The President's state- important aspect of the law is the requirement of pre- ment in the June 6, 1978 Water Resources Policy paration of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) Reform Message provides additional impetus to for every proposal for legislation and other major agency compliance. Federal activities significantly affecting the quality The Order applies specifically to agencies that: of the human environment. (1) acquire, manage, or dispose of Federal lands and EIS's and environmental assessments under NEPA facilities; (2) undertake, finance, or assist construc- may be required for permits (Corps of Engineers, tion and improvements; and (3) conduct activities Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency), and programs affecting land use, including planning, regulation, and licensing. The Order covers, as a grants of money (Federal Highway Administration, minimum, areas subject to inundation by a flood Economic Development Agency, Office of Coastal with a one percent chance of occurring in any year Zone Management), and new housing (Department (i.e., 100-year or base flood), whether these areas are of Housing and Urban Development). Environmen- located by or near rivers, streams, oceans, ponds, or tal review must also be undertaken f or direct Federal related water bodies. As stated within the Order projects and for land use management or disposal "this determination shall be made according to a proposals (Department of Interior, Department of Department of Housing and Urban Development Defense, General Services Administration). NEPA floodplain map or a more detailed map of an area, if processes serve to alert the public and other agencies available." Based on a sampling of areas, it appears on proposed actions affecting the barrier islands and that a high percentage of barrier island lands under are a means to coordinate various Federal decisions study (85 % or more) are covered by the Floodplain Management Executive Order. Figure 10 is an exam- and viewpoints. Where problems exist, NEPA ple of a Flood Insurance Rate Map. review can bring to the highest levels of the Federal The Order requires agencies to amend or issue government any proposal that might have serious regulations and procedures to: (1) avoid develop- adverse impacts on barrier islands and their environ- ment on the base floodplain if at all feasible, (2) pro- mental and economic values. vide alternatives to minimize adverse impacts in the base floodplain if development cannot be avoided, Air Quality Control and (3) keep the public informed of proposed actions in the base floodplain and encourage participation in The Clean Air Act of 1970 established a two-phase floodplain decision making. Each agency is required strategy to maintain ambient air quality standards. 53 J 4 Av',,` t 4 Z First is the regulation of new indirect, or complex The contrast between good and bad beach man- sources-those facilities likely to generate substan- agement under State jurisdiction (that is, where no tially increased vehicular traffic. Such facilities in the Federal seashores or wildlife refuges are involved) is coastal zone might include new ports or marinas, apparent in most States. A good example is the waterfront recreational complexes, and large indus- Delaware coast. There, the Delaware Seashore trial plants. Under the Clean Air Act, assurance State Park is a model of barrier island beach man- would have to be provided that such facilities would agement. Driving through the State Park, one sees not result in the violation of air quality standards. nothing but dunes from the highway, with the care- Second, and still largely unformulated, the EPA air fully spaced parking areas mostly screened by dune quality maintenance strategy calls for the develop- fields. ment of growth plans and development of a long- The barrier dunes have been simply and effective- term control strategy where such growth may lead to ly stabilized by sand-catching snow fences, and the air quality deterioration. This long-term growth natural dune vegetation has been encouraged and control planning for the preservation of air quality protected. Beach access is carefully controlled by should be incorporated into the State coastal zone means of entrance roads located at intervals along planning under the CZMA. the coastal highway. Each of these entrance roads leads to a parking area on the inland side of the bar- State Efforts rier dune, and controlled walkways provide pedes- trian access to the beach proper. Disturbance to the Various State policies and/or programs are current- dunes and vegetation is minimized by restricting ly being implemented which either indirectly or vehicles and by limiting foot traffic to specified directly provide protection to barrier islands and walks. The broad beaches are popular and heavily their resources. However, the States' attitudes used for swimming and surf fishing. Great recrea- toward their barrier islands and how they have tional benefits are enjoyed with minimum invest- dealt with them vary greatly. ment and maintenance. In the event of a serious 54 storm, the only loss would be to portable toilets and Carolina Coastal Area Management Act initiated walkways. permits in designated Areas of Environmental Con- To the south, however, near the town of cern (AEC's) on March 1, 1978. Federal approval of Bethany, the contrast is striking. High-rise North Carolina's Coastal Management Plan was buildings, some of which impinge upon the barrier obtained in September 1978-making North Caro- dunes, line the beach. lina the first southern State to receive such Apart from State beaches used for mass urban approval. recreation (such as Robert Moses and Jones Beach Sixteen of the 18 East and Gulf Coast States have State Parks in New York) and for which barrier set aside selected barrier islands, or sections thereof, island preservation is incidental, one of the most as State parks, wildlife refuges, or natural areas. All vivid contrasts to the type of area represented by but one of the New England States have at least one Delaware Seashore State Park is Jekyll Island, barrier island reservation .46 The relative scarcity Georgia .44 Jekyll Island is entirely a State park. and small size of these reservations reflect both the Although State legislation limits development to no fact that northeastern barrier islands are smaller more than 35% of the island's land area, much of its and less numerous than those further south, and waterfront and adjacent lands have been heavily that the northeast underwent extensive urbaniza- developed. The commercial enterprises and private tion and coastal development at an earlier date than residences occupy State park land under 70-99 year the more southerly coasts. leases. The island has some 1,200 permanent occu- Several other States have special conditions that pants .45 In the eagerness to develop the island, 200 limit their opportunity to establish State parks on acres of dunes and 175 acres of marsh were the islands. For example, 70% of Maryland's destroyed. There has been little effort to protect the limited stretch of Atlantic coast is included in island's natural system, which is normally the prac- Assateague Island National Seashore, however, the tice in State parks (including other mainland State State does maintain a 700 acre state park on parks in Georgia). Assateague. Similarly, North Carolina has two North Carolina has recognized the importance of lengthy national seashores (Cape Hatteras and beach and dune protection and maintenance for Cape Lookout), and three of Mississippi's five bar- over 20 years, and passed a dune protection ordi- rier islands are included in Gulf Islands National nance (G.S. 104-B) in 1957. This ordinance required Seashore. Many of Virginia's barrier islands are a permit prior to damaging, destroying, or remov- owned by The Nature Conservancy and are pro- ing any sand dune, or part thereof, lying along the tected in The Nature Conservancy's Coastal Outer Banks-or prior to killing, destroying, or Preserve. Perhaps the most comprehensive State removing any trees, shrubbery, grass, or other systems of barrier island preservation are found in vegetation growing on the dunes. More serious pro- the State parks of South Carolina, Florida, and tection of barrier island shorelines, estuarine Texas. In contrast to the New England States, these waters, associated marshlands, and estuarine States have larger and more numerous barrier shorelines began in 1970 with stringent imple- islands, and did not feel the pressure of urban and mentation of the North Carolina Dredge and Fill coastal zone development until later. Law (G.S. 113-229) which was passed in 1969. This As with all other land areas and water bodies law requires permits for excavation and/or filling within a given State (except Federally-administered along the State's 300+ miles of ocean shoreline, lands such as national seashores), States and their and in the 2.3 million acres of estuarine waters and political subdivisions have great authority over marshlands (including those marshes subject to how barrier islands are used. For the most part, the occasional flooding). Additionally, the North coastal States have been unwilling or unable to establish general land use controls (except for urban 44jekyll Island fulfills this study's definitions of both "protected" zoning) or to identify and restrict the development and "developed," and is entered on the respective lists in Appen- of hazardous areas and places of special significance dix 2. 451-angdon Warner and David Strouss, Inventory of the Status of "The exception is New Hampshire, which has the shortest coast- the Barrier Islands of the Southeast, (New York, New York: line of all the coastal States. The other State with no State-owned Open Space, Inst., 1976), p. 254. barrier island reservations is Mississippi. 55 (ecologic, recreational, etc.). Where there has been State provisions, under condition of approval of the a rapid surge in the demand for homesites and DNR as to the adequacy of such zoning and codes development properties with a concomitant in- to protect the shoreline from erosion and safeguard crease in land value, as on the barrier islands, the adjacent structures .48The control line is established real estate interests and large-scale subdivision at the maximum expected reach of waves and floods developers usually have determined land use Pat- during a 100-year storm. Its efficacy was shown in terns. 1975 when hurricane Eloise struck near Panama There are, however, numerous controls available City. The setback line had previously been estab- to States or their political subdivisions, and some lished in that area, and the storm damage relative to jurisdictions have made excellent use of them to the line was studied. Flood damage, on the average, protect barrier islands. For example, the Coastal was higher for properties located seaward than for Resources Management Council of Rhode Island those located landward of the line .49 has adopted regulatory policies intended to control The importance of dune protection has been spec- and limit further development of undeveloped ifically addressed in several States. For example, beaches. The State's attitude toward the islands is Texas has implemented a statute which makes it apparent from the following statement of findings unlawful for: in the Council's regulations: "any person or association of persons, corporate or other- Rhode Island's barrier beaches, their associated sand wise, to damage, destroy, or remove any sand dune or dunes, wetlands and salt ponds are a limited and valuable portion thereof on any barrier island or peninsula sea- natural resource in need of protection and careful ward of the dune protection line, or to kill, destroy, or management. The barrier beach system is a very delicate remove in any manner vegetation growing on any sand one, yet in an undisturbed state is a public asset of the dune seaward of the dune protection line, without having greatest value, first obtained a permit as specified which authorized such conduct. " In issuing permits for projects involving the alter- Another means of exercising control over island ation of shorelines, the Council places the burden of development is the management program being pre- proof on the applicant. The applicant must prove pared by each coastal State under the Coastal Zone that such factors as sediment deposition patterns, Management Act of 1972.10 In section 305(b)(3) of biological communities, esthetic and recreational the Act, the States are instructed to include an values, water quality, public access to beaches, and inventory of areas of particular concern in their erosion and flood hazards are capable of supporting management programs. Once so designated, these the proposed activity or land use. Sand dunes areas of particular concern must be given special receive special attention: pedestrian as well as protection in the management program. It is clear vehicular crossing of dunes is restricted to board- that barrier islands and their related wetlands and walks or stabilized trails, and any construction on bays fall within the definition of "area of particular or alteration of the dunes is rigidly controlled. concern." At least four of the qualifying descrip- Recognizing that, other things being equal, the tions in the Office of Coastal Zone Management's closer a structure is to the waterline the more susceptible it is to damage from storm waves, the pertinent regulations apply: Florida Legislature has enacted a law which estab- 1. Areas of unique, scarce, fragile or vulnerable lishes a coastal construction control line. The habitat ... statute prohibits construction or excavation 2. Areas of high natural productivity or essential seaward of the line without a permit from the habitat for living resources... Florida Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "Florida's coastal setback line: an effort to regulate beachfront The Statute also makes provisions for any coastal development, E. Warren Shows, University of South Florida. county or municipality to establish coastal con- From a study done for the State Department of Natural Resources, 1977. struction zoning and building codes in lieu of the gLetter from Edward T. LaRoe, PH. D., Chief, Bureau of Coastal "Letter and enclosure from John A. Lyons, Chairman of the Zone Planning to Chris T. Delaporte, Director of HCRS, Council, 12/28/77. (The term "barrier beach" is synonymous 9/25/78. with both barrier island and barrier spit). 50PL 92-583, 86 Stat. 1280. 56 task of ensuring appropriate barrier island use is ob- viously very difficult. Even in States that have developed some growth management related systems, the solution in terms of barrier island pro- tection is far from satisfactory. Why the unsatis- factory results or failure of some States to adopt protection programs? As can be deduced from this report, protecting barrier islands is no simple task; it is a complicated mission requiring the fullest cooperation of a variety of agencies and a thorough understanding of the natural processes. It is in at- tempting to accomplish this mission, however, that various problems arise. Some of these problems in- clude: 1. Confusing and often conflicting regulatory schemes. Bossellman, Callis and Banta, in their 1971 dis- cussion of the land use management controversy, The Taking Issue, report that a: A' "Common failing of state land regulatory systems is that they do not relate in a logical manner to the con- tinuing need for local participation. Most of them tend to by-pass the existing system of local regulation and set up completely independent and unrelated systems. This requires the developer (and ultimately the con- 3. Areas of substantial recreational value and/or sumer) who is subject to both systems to go through opportunity ... two separate and distinct administrative processes, 4. Areas of significant hazard if developed, due to often doubling the time required and substantially in- storms, slides, floods, erosion, settlement, etc.-" creasing the costs required to obtain approval of the development proposal. " Connecticut's management program recommends 2. Problems with monitoring and enforcement. that all of its barrier islands be considered areas of Even officials of States with outstanding barrier particular concern. island related legislation on the books report that The preservation tools available to States are it is often very difficult to monitor infringements powerful. Because political systems and sentiments and/or enforce compliance. Such State programs vary so widely from State to State, it is often diffi- operate at chronically low staff and funding cult to identify a model "wetlands," "dune protec- levels. There are simply not enough personnel to tion," or "barrier islands" protection law. A pro- patrol the beaches, carefully review development gram that works satisfactorily in one state might be proposals, or monitor every local conservation a total failure in another; legislators, planners, and committee meeting. other State officials, however, can learn from another's experience in dealing with a particular 3. Barrier islands/beaches as unique and discrete issue, like barrier island protection. units of the coastal zone. As discussed, some States are successfully imple- Few States in their Coastal Zone Management menting programs which are effectively addressing Planning process have identified barrier islands specific problems of barrier island protection. as vital protection areas; likewise, few States Unfortunately, this is not generally the case. In have specifically identified barrier island preser- those instances where States have not enacted vation concerns in their Statewide Compre- appropriate enabling or regulatory legislation, the hensive Outdoor Recreation Plans. All this "Office of Coastal Zone Management Regs. �923.13(a). 57 reflects a general failure on the part of the States A setback line for all construction is established to consider barrier islands as a separate and quite 40 feet landward of the crest of the first stable different growth management question from the dune. mainland. Collier County, Florida controls growth on its Ten 4. Objective base for growth management deci- Thousand Island archipelago by means of a special sions. treatment (ST) ordinance (enacted in 1974) designed Growth management systems, especially as to protect areas of environmental sensitivity. 52 related to barrier island protection should be Although the ordinance does not prohibit develop- based on local and regional recognition of land ment outright, it is very restrictive, requiring holding capacities. They should incorporate lengthy site plan reviews and the approval of the multiple environmental, economic, and service Board of County Commissioners before any site infrastructure constraints in their regulatory pro- alteration or development can take place. A special cesses. feature of the ST ordinance is that it encourages the The aforementioned programs and problems preservation of barrier islands through the transfer clearly point out that the State's role in barrier of development rights to other, less fragile areas. If island protection is an essential one and can not be they relinquish their development rights to their overlooked. In order to develop a workable, ra- island property, the developers are compensated by tional, and consistent national policy for barrier being permitted higher densities on the new site. island protection, each coastal state will have to The barrier island is then donated to the county for evaluate its needs, determine its strategies, and im- permanent preservation. Either way (the developer plement its programs, They have the capability; meets the stringent controls in order to develop the what is needed is a strong commitment to protec- island, or transfers development rights to a less tIing barrier islands and proof that the Federal pro- restrictive mainland site and donates the island to grams, too, are being directed toward that end. the county), the barrier island is preserved in a more or less natural condition, and the proposed Local Efforts development takes place in a more suitable area. Another approach is that of the special regional If barrier islands are to be protected, all govern- commission empowered by the State to regulate mental agencies will have to participate equally in land use and development. One example is the Mar- protective actions. Local government can deter- tha's Vineyard Commission, established in 1974 on mine, by their action or lack of action, the fate of the island of Martha's Vineyard, Masssachusetts.-Il the islands. (The island is not a barrier island, but contains Glynn County, Georgia, for example, has passed several barrier beaches.) The Commission, created some of the strictest beach and dune protection by the State legislature along the lines of the ordinances in the country. In the special Beach and American Law Institute's model land development Dune Protection District established by the County code, has two basic functions: Commission, the following provisions (among others) apply: * It designates specific geographic areas as Districts of Critical Planning Concern, and promulgates � All permanent structures shall be mounted on guidelines for their development. pilings-not fill-with the first floor raised at * It identifies types of development, designated least 14 feet above mean sea level. Developments of Regional Impact (DRI), which are likely to produce adverse regional impacts. � Such modifications as seawalls, jetties, roads, The Commission also adopts standards for and sewers are allowed only if the applicant reviewing the applications for DRIs, as well as proves they will cause no short or long-term conditions that may be imposed on the proposed adverse environmental effects. development to overcome the harmful effects. - 53Donald L. Connors, "A Regional Approach to Regulation of 5'Neno J. Spagna, "A Case History of Marco Island, Florida," Land Use and Development: the Martha's Vinyard unpublished paper, 1977. Commission," unpublished paper. 58 -Y" - q'7 -A 4', Ar _771"M.77 - 7' 77- 7 One of the most beneficial aspects of the Private Efforts Commission's operation is its ability to work coop- eratively with the community regulatory agencies Prompted by the rapid increase in barrier island such as planning boards and conservation commis- development and by dissatisfaction with State and sions. For example, a developer must have the Federal Government's response to the problem, pri- Commission's approval for a DRI before a local vate parties (usually regional or national conserva- (town) permit can be issued; thereby enhancing the tion organizations, but also small groups and indi- town's ability to manage growth, shape its develop- viduals) have played an essential role in preserving ment, and deny projects that would be unwise. The the islands. Private action has generally taken four major problem area usually involves local forms: the acquisition and retention of islands; regulatory authorities. Local authorities perceive special preservation efforts by private owners of State actions (guidelines) more as a form of pater- their island properties; community action; and the nalistic criticism of local incompetence, while the acquisition and subsequent donation or sale of State sees a lack of incentive by the local authorities islands to State or Federal agencies for permanent to protect the State's interests. All too often, State retention in public ownership. Examples of each are authorities tend to feel that local authorities have described below. enough difficulty just protecting their own interests, thus, their implementation of State programs is not Acquisition of Islands always fully operative. What must be recognized and highlighted in protecting barrier islands is a The Nature Conservancy (TNQ is a national, relationship accentuating the positive role State and citizen-supported conservation organization. The Federal levels of government can play in focusing Conservancy acquires areas of outstanding natural their technical and financial resources to assist local or ecological value through donation or purchase. governments. Some of these lands are held and provided with per- manent stewardship, while others are transferred or 59 Figure 10. The Nature Conservancy's Virginia Coast Reserve ............. xx: .............. ....... X: ....... ... .. ..... ............. .. . @.Assateaciue 1. Md XX :x@xx-. X ..... ........ 44 .......... ........... .. ........... ....... ... a .:.X.X.X.:X.X Chincoteague:' ........... ... ........ ... ........ . ...... ....... Va. ........ NW X . . . . . ......... .......... . ........... :XXXX: -:X:--XX:X.: .. ...... .... ..... ....... ................. ...... . . ..... ......... .. ........... ......... ....... . . . ..... .. ......... ...... ....... ... . .... ..... X.....X.- .......... ...: : . ... .... ........ ..... ........... -... ...... ...... :Metomkin 1. ... ... ....... ......... .......... . .. ............. ....... ..... ............ . ............ _p: .... .... ............ ...... ....... . .......... ..... . . ::Fx X. :XX: ......... ...... ............ ..... ...... :X: C hesa pea ke'i:*@:'@*@*:::: . .......... XV. .......... ... ....... ..X Bay teclar 1. (Portio .... ..... ... ............. ..... . ........ ............ . ......... ... .......... . . .... .... .......... xxxx .......... .......... .......... ......... ...Parramore .......... ........... ........... .. .... ...... .... .:::,Revel ......... . ......... 9 10 1. . ........ .......... .::::: .. ............ . . ......... ogue 1. .............. ..... . ......... .................... a .... Godwin X-:::::::: ............... ........... .... . ................... ....... S i h p Shoal 1. ........ .. ........ ..... .... .......... ......... ........... .... .... Mvrtle ....... ..... ..... . . XX X.:.:.X,X,X.X Smith 1. .... ....... ........... ]*.*:::x.X . ..... ... ............ I,xv.. ......... . d X... ........... ...... . .... Isl nds in the Virgim' Co X .... .... . .. . ast Reserve;:: X a a A sold to Federal agencies when those agencies are The Reserve is managed by a professional adminis- prepared to maintain the Conservancy's protection trator operating from a headquarters office on the of them. Among the areas held under its steward- mainland. With the added help of TNC's efforts, ship program is the Virginia Coast Reserve, an am- the barrier islands of Virginia are almost completely bitious undertaking that is preserving a marvelous protected, since three of the remaining five islands chain of uninhabited and pristine barrier islands are protected by the Federal Government and one and marshes on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (Fig. by the State. 11). These 13 islands, ten of which are owned en- The Conservancy, in purchasing over 33,000 tirely by TNC, will be held and managed in their acres on 13 islands and preserving and administer- undeveloped state as an outdoor laboratory for ing them, is clearly providing a public benefit, and research, a facility for educational programs, and a doing so on a scale normally associated with place for various forms of compatible recreation. Federal or State Governments. Yet it provides these 60 PA, benefits without the financial and other resources the State. Its management of these areas provides available to the government, and with certain for public use and enjoyment, and the interpreta- liabilities usually associated with private owners. tion of the significance of the islands to visitors. For example, State or Federal bodies that have the Each reservation has a local committee consisting of power of condemnation can take protected proper- residents of the area who take a personal interest in ty from the Conservancy. For another, they are not the reservation's management. The statewide pro- eligible for financial or technical assistance from the gram of the Trustees is administered through four Federal barrier island-managing agencies. management regions, three of which are each sub- A group that does the same type of work, but on divided into several management units. Each region a far more limited scale, is the Sanibel-Captiva is administered by a superintendent. The Trustees Conservation Foundation of Florida. The Founda- currently holds two barrier beach areas-Chappa- tion was an outgrowth of a citizen's committee that quiddick Island and Nantucket Island. was instrumental in creating the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. In addition to its Preservation By Private Owners interest in controlling and guiding local growth and development, in conducting a public environmental A considerable amount of barrier island land is pro- education program, and in campaigning for tected today by private owners who are dedicated stronger environmental ordinances and their to the preservation of the intrinsic value of their enforcement, the Foundation owns and protects lands. One way to preserve many of the values of a over 500 acres of critical wetlands on the island. property's natural environment, while still enjoying The Trustees of Reser-vations also manages bar- the benefits of private ownership and use, is to rier islands. A privately-administered charitable donate the conservation restrictions or easements to corporation operating in the State of Massachu- another party, private or public. A privately- setts, the Trustees acquires and protects in perpetui- organized plan for preserving the sensitive natural ty significant historic and natural areas throughout environment by donating such restrictions to a con- 61 servation organization is currently being imple- cise his authority to purchase the properties. The mented by landowners on Tuckernuck Island, private efforts of the property owners to preserve Massachusetts. 54 (Although Tuckernuck is not itself the quality of their island have therefore coincided a barrier island, the method is applicable to barrier with the national intent to preserve their larger and islands.) By mutual agreement, and following a wilder neighbor. study of the island, the landowners voluntarily Private owners have played a unique role in the donate conservation restrictions on their land to the preservation of Georgia's barrier islands. Early in Trustees of Reservations. In such a restriction, the this century it became fashionable for the extremely basic title to the property and its exclusive use re- wealthy families of the northeast to acquire barrier mains with the owner. No rights are provided for islands and to build summer homes on them. The public access to the property unless specifically families came to love the islands and tended to granted by the owner. The land may be used by the preserve them largely in their natural state. Several owner in any manner consistent with the terms of of Georgia's loveliest undeveloped islands, such as the conservation restriction. The restrictions pro- St. Catherines, Little Cumberland, and Little St. tect the island's natural and scenic qualities by Simons, fall into this category. Another island, preventing fundamental changes in the present land Ossabaw, was purchased by the State of Georgia in patterns and by limiting development. May 1978. The residents of Little Cumberland Island, Georgia have long recognized the esthetic and Community Action natural values of their island, and have taken steps to protect these values by setting up a voluntary Community action can also contribute to the wise association. Development and land use are control- development of barrier islands and the preservation led by covenants and deed restrictions on individual of their values, as illustrated by the history of Sani- properties, and a considerable part of the island is bel Island, Florida. The island, which is the site of left undeveloped. The success of the owners and the 5,000-acre "Ding" Darling National Wildlife their association in maintaining the integrity of Refuge, was connected to the mainland by a cause- their island was acknowledged by Congress when way in 1963. At that time, it was only slightly de- adjacent Cumberland Island was preserved as a Na- veloped. The Lee County Commissioners approved tional Seashore in 1972.55 Although Little Cumber- of the rapid development that ensued, notwith- land was included within the boundaries of the new standing the serious alterations of the island's seashore, section 4(d) of the Act establishing the fragile environment that accompanied develop- Seashore set the policy that if the individual owners ment. But many of the island's residents did not ap- 11 enter into an irrevocable trust or some other irre- prove, and formed Sanibel Tomorrow, a citizen ac- vocable agreement for the preservation of the tion group that promoted incorporation of the resources," the Secretary of Interior will not exer- island as a solution to the problem.51, "Donald L. Conners, "A Private Approach to Conservation: Their efforts paid off. In 1974, 64 % of the people Tuckernuck Island, Massachusetts," unpublished paper. ""Islands for Our Future," Carole Kneeland, Corpus Christi 55PL92-536, 86 Stat. 1067. Caller, Sept. 11, 1977, section B. 62 voted for the incorporation of the city of Sanibel. quired by fast-acting private parties before the At its first meeting, the newly-elected city council islands are developed. Public agencies, which must declared a moratorium on building permits while negotiate the tedious procedures of obtaining acqui- awaiting the recommendations of a land use study sition authority and funding, are often unable to that was being jointly prepared by The Conserva- react quickly to an emergency or to an unexpected tion Foundation and the firm of Wallace, McHarg, opportunity. Roberts and Todd. All aspects of the island were One group that has actively pursued the acquisi- studied, and the result was a comprehensive land tion of barrier islands and adjacent marshes (among use plan that divided the island into ecological other types of areas) is the Philadelphia Conserva- zones and recommended development and land use tionists. For 20 years, this organization has ac- rules for each zone. 17 Hearings were held on the quired and transferred key island habitats to such plan and it was adopted by the council. The plan agencies as the Fish and Wildlife Service. Much of protects the dunes, marshes, and native vegetation; its activity has been in New Jersey, where it has it prohibits activities that would impair the precious contributed greatly to the State's impressive string supply of groundwater; and it establishes height of national wildlife refuges. It also acquired Wreck limits and impermeable-area coverage limits in wet- Island, Virginia, and donated it to the State's Divi- lands. Population densities are set for each sion of Parks. ecological zone. The city council has built a legal At the time of transfer, and if it meets the needs structure of city ordinances on the foundation of of the receiving agency, the donor conservation the plan which will preserve the quality of life on organization can sometimes attach special condi- Sanibel while allowing controlled and carefully tions to the future use and development of the considered development. island. For example, when Wassaw Island, Georgia was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1969 Acquisition for Transfer or Donation for donation to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the two parties agreed to restrictions in the deed that Finally, a number of conservation-minded organi- prevent a bridge to the island, prevent the construc- zations have purchased barrier islands for transfer tion of any major facilities on the island, and pro- or resale to government agencies. The practical hibit camping there. These special conditions ensure value of this tactic-aside from the obvious benefit the Conservancy's goal of preserving the island in to the public when such transfers are in the form of its natural state while permitting the FWS to carry gifts to the government-is that islands can be ac- out itsfu nct ions .58 "John Clark, "The Sanibel Report: Formulation of a Comprehen- "Langdon Warner and David Strouss, Inventory of the Status of sive Plan Based on Natural Systems," The Conservation Founda- the Barrier Islands of the Southeast, (New York, New York: Open tion, 1976. Space, Inst., 1976), p. 250. 63 Chapter 6 Federal Programs and Their Influence on . Barrier Island Development "Coastal barrier islands are a fragile buffer between the ment may contribute financially to its construction. wetlands and the sea... Many of them are unstable and The determining factor is often simply whether or not suited for development, yet in the past the Federal not the bridge or road is part of an approved State Government has subsidized and insured new construction or county plan. Both the bridge and highway con- on them. Eventually, we can expect heavy economic struction programs, which are administered by the losses from this shortsighted policy, Department of Transportation (DOT), may facili- President Carter tate development of the islands by permitting im- May 23, 1977 proved access to the islands. The bridge permit program is administered by the Many Federal activities, while aimed at achieving U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the highway con- important national goals, have had the effect of struction grant program by the Federal Highway stimulating and subsidizing development of barrier Administration (FHWA). With specific reference to islands. Public programs involving bridge and high- the barrier islands, DOT programs will be involved way construction, coastal dredging and shoreline more frequently in cases where the islands are protection, flood insurance, and wastewater treat- already developed or partially developed. In these ment facility grants have had profound effects, both cases, transportation facilities are considered neces- direct and indirect, on barrier island development. sary to serve the needs of residents as well as to per- An obvious example is that of a bridge built to con- mit expanded development. However, decisions nect a once-isolated island to the mainland. The regarding access and transportation facilities are of island immediately becomes attractive for develop- special importance in cases where an island is un- ment, land values rise, and the natural qualities of developed and unprotected, and where the owners the island may be permanently impaired. or local public agencies are seeking improved access Numerous Federal programs influence the degree in order to facilitate development. and extent of development on barrier islands. This The applicable controls that are administered can occur without regard to possible conflicts be- vary extensively from case to case. Grants and tween programs. The following are short descrip- bridge permits generally require preparation of tions of Federal programs which may influence or appropriate environmental documentation. Where more directly affect the development of barrier a significant impact is anticipated, a full environ- islands. mental impact statement (EIS) ordinarily will be processed. In such cases, appropriate environmen- Bridge and Highway Construction tal terms and controls may be imposed as a condi- Programs tion of the grant or permit. For example, DOT ac- tions in the past have sometimes been conditioned The Federal Government authorizes the construc- upon the requirement that facilities be constructed tion of bridges for access to barrier islands and on structure rather than on fill to minimize the im- authorizes the development of road systems on bar- pact on wetland or tidal areas. There is nothing rier islands. If the bridge or road is part of a planned within the administrative procedures, however, primary or secondary highway system, the govern- that would allow programs on barrier islands to be 64 J'Az, 0,_ M IN, MMI" 2 T treated in a different manner than those on any Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972. mainland area. The National Environmental Policy Act requires the Coast Guard to consider the potential impact of Bridge Construction Permits a proposal on the future development of an island, and to seek public comment and expert testimony Bridges can be considered essential to barrier island from Federal, State, and local agencies. These com- development, because without the easy access they ments are formally obtained through the EIS review provide, -development costs would be extremely process. high, if not prohibitive. The Coast Guard has had Notwithstanding these statutes, it seems that the statutory authority for reviewing proposals to build Coast Guard has never denied a bridge permit on bridges over navigable waters, including those to environmental grounds. It should be noted, barrier islands, since 1966. During the past five however, that bridges to barrier islands have not years, the Coast Guard has granted 24 bridge per- been a controversial issue until recently, and that mits for barrier island-related projects (not all new the agency may, therefore not have had an oppor- bridges) and has Six applications pending (February tunity to deal with the issue. Furthermore, the 1978). Bridge permit applications are processed and Coast Guard has no current regulations that spell approved in accordance with the bridge statutes, out the regulatory test which will be applied in Code of Federal Regulations, and case law. Accord- evaluating the effect of a bridge proposal on future ing to the Coast Guard, the issuance or denial of a barrier island development, or that set forth the bridge permit depends upon whether or not the pro- burden of proof that a bridge permit applicant must posed work will provide for the reasonable needs of satisfy in order to qualify for a permit. Although navigation, subject to the provisions of specific some (perhaps including the agency itself), may statutes governing environmental impacts such as protest that authority over bridges should not enti- the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the Na- tle the Coast Guard to make decisions on the merits tional Historic Preservation Act, and the Federal of barrier island development, such considerations 65 must be taken into account if the agency is to fulfill its mandate of protecting the public interest in terms of environmental resources. Limiting consideration to the primary impacts of a bridge would be meaningless because it would fail to recognize the 'P, proximate secondary impacts of granting the per- mit. Furthermore, NEPA requires examination of @Z these impacts, which include the development of the islands, with its profound effects on coastal ecosystems and public safety. In some cases, the 2@. Coast Guard has been preparing environmental im- pact statements that outline the impacts of develop- ment that will follow bridge construction, but it is uncertain whether these impacts will be considered the basis for decisionmaking. "A Coast Guard policies with respect to the adminis- tration of other statutory requirements and consi- derations are likewise unclear. For example, the Department of Transportation has a wetlands pro- tection policy, and although wetlands are usually found in association with barrier islands, the Coast Guard has yet to decide how it will apply the DOT policy to bridge permits and construction of .bridges. Similarly, Section 4(f) of the DOT Act of 1966 forbids the agency from sponsoring or approv- ing projects that would use publicly-owned land The property must be of national, State, or local that is important for wildlife, recreation, and significance as determined by the Federal, State, historic preservation, unless there are no feasible alternatives and all planning measures have been or local officials with jurisdiction. established to reduce the impact of the project on However, approval would still be granted if there is publicly-owned wildlife refuges, and on recrea- no feasible and prudent alternative for locating the tional and historic resources. Section 4(f) is often bridge and if the proposal includes all possible plan- overlooked in cases of de facto wildlife sanctuaries or recreation areas (e.g., publicly-owned wetlands, ning to minimize harm. or important natural fisheries). Highway Construction Permits The Coast Guard position is that Section 4(f) pro- tection should be given to wetlands, in certain The Federal Highway Administration, with its limited circumstances, if the following conditions multi-billion dollar per annurn highway construc- are met: tion program, plays an important role in determin- � The wetlands must be publicly-owned. ing land use patterns in the country. A new road � The wetlands must have special characteristics may result not only in concreting over the rural, that distinguish them as a public park, recreation undeveloped areas, but also in development, which area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge. In apply- greatly multiplies the loss of open space. The avail- ing this criterion, the Coast Guard would exam- ability of Federal financial assistance for transporta- ine the physical characteristics of the land, the tion improvements also makes it practical and more 714- v actual present use of the land, and the plans of economically rewarding to convert from low- to the officials with jurisdiction over the land high-density developments. Construction of a ma- regarding future management and use of the jor access road or highway on portions of a barrier land. island may result in serious alteration of the natural 66 features. Roads improve accessibility and increase over the scope of the Corps' jurisdiction above pressures for residential, recreational, commercial mean high water, the agency has consistently been and industrial uses. using its authority to protect coastal wetland eco- There are, however, environmental constraints on systems. The Corps has the power to encourage all federally-funded highway building. When sound barrier island development by exercising its important resources such as barrier islands are in- wetlands protection policy, which states that volved, environmental impact statements must be dredge-and-fill permits in wetlands will not be prepared under NEPA and applicable FHWA regu- issued if there is another way to achieve desired lations. In this case, Section 4(f) of the DOT statute ends, including upland development. Environmen- is once again particularly important. Since barrier tal impact statements are frequently prepared on islands often feature national or State wildlife such permit applications, and the Corps routinely refuges, parks, or recreation areas that would be uses them to help make its "public interest" deter- affected by the new highway (the road does not minations under its regulations. necessarily have to cross the refuge, park, or recrea- Wetlands associated with barrier beaches and tion area; it could have a significant impact from islands that are significant in shielding other areas noise, air pollution, or esthetic disturbance) Section from wave action, erosion, or storm damage are 4(f) will often be applicable to a federally-funded considered vital areas that constitute a productive highway on a barrier island. and valuable public resource. The unnecessary However, as with the USCG bridge permit pro- alteration or destruction of these areas is discour- gram, Section 4(f) is frequently overlooked or aged as being contrary to the public interest. Where viewed very narrowly in cases of de facto wildlife wetlands are identified as important, the applicant sanctuaries or recreation areas (e.g., publicly- must provide sufficient information on the need to owned wetlands, forests, or important natural locate the dredge-and-fill activity in the wetland fisheries). Federal Highway Administration figures and must provide data which can be used to eval- show that during fiscal years 1976, 1977, and uate the availability and feasibility of alternative 1978, over $37 million in 70% Federal- 30% State or sites. With respect to its evaluations, the depth of local matching grant monies were provided to State the Corps' review often depends on public comment and local agencies for development of roads and and expert testimony from Federal, State, and local highways on barrier islands. agencies knowledgeable in the management of wetlands and other resources. Coastal Dredging and Shoreline Protection Programs Navigational Dredging Three programs administered by the U.S. Army The main impact of navigational dredging on bar- Corps of Engineers greatly influence barrier island rier islands results from the deposition of spoil development and use. These include: dredge and fill material on the islands. In addition, the placement permits, navigational dredging, and shoreline pro- of channels along the accreting edges of migrating tection. Authority for these programs is found in barrier islands results in the eventual loss of the the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Flood island as it migrates into the channel and is dredged Control Act of 1941. out. Petit Bois Island, off the coast of Mississippi, is an example. Dredge-and-Fill Permits The Corps maintains the Atlantic and Gulf Intra- coastal Waterways, small craft navigation channels Under Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution dredged through the shallow bays that separate the Control Act Amendments of 1972, and the Rivers barrier islands from the coastal mainland. The need and Harbors Act of 1899, the Corps has jurisdiction to constantly remove sediment from the channel over any modification of traditionally navigable creates dredge material, which is disposed of in the waters and over the discharges of dredged and fill least expensive manner that is environmentally material into all waters of the United States, in- sound. The practice has been to dump much of the cluding wetlands. Although there is controversy dredged material in tidal marshes along the water- 67 way route. It is not the maintenance policy of the inland borrow areas without disrupting the eco- Corps to keep all projects at their full, authorized logical integrity of the borrow area. Research is project dimensions, but to provide depths consis- needed to determine the long-term effects of tent with the reasonable needs of existing traffic. beach restoration and nourishment on not only Thus, unnecessary dredging and dredged material the restored beach and downdrift areas but on disposal does not occur with projects where full the borrow areas as well. project depths are not being used. In some instances 2. Groins. Groins are structures constructed on troublesome shoal areas, the Corps has found it generally perpendicular to the shoreline. They to be economical to dredge overdepth as advanced extend across the beach and into the water. Used maintenance to prevent the requirement of return- individually or in a series, they interrupt the sand ing to the same project two or more times in the moving into the area and widen the beach on the same dredging season. updrift side. This method is effective only when The depth of the Intracoastal Water-way channels large amounts of sand are in transit. After sand in most sections is maintained at -12 feet mean sea has accumulated updrift of a groin, it no longer level (MSL) under congressional mandate. How- represents a total barrier to the movement of ever, it does not appear that the question of the sand along the shore. However, long-term pat- most advantageous depth has been studied. A terns of erosion and deposition may be created 9-foot channel, such as that on the upper Missis- when a number of groins are deployed in series. sippi River, might be sufficient to carry a large per- The accelerated erosion downdrift that usually centage of the normal traffic now using the channel. results from construction of groins can be Such a move would greatly reduce spoil require- reduced when sand is added to the system by ments, make it less expensive to dredge and dispose means of artificial fill and nourishment or by of spoil, and allow the remaining spoil to be dis- construction of sand bypass systems. posed of in a more environmentally acceptable 3. Seawalls. Seawalls are massive, rigid structures, manner. This problem deserves study. constructed parallel to the beachline, which may be used to prevent flooding, protect against Shoreline Protection direct wave attack, and control erosion. Seawalls have been used successfully to reduce flooding Research and practical experience have demon- over long periods of time. However, by preven- strated that the most effective type of shoreline pro- ting erosion of areas that added sand to the tection is a broad beach and a well-developed dune supply in motion, seawalls may accelerate ero- system. The Corps provides assistance to Federal, sion of the fronting beaches and nearby areas. State, and local agencies by replenishing sand on The major drawback to this type of shore protec- eroded beaches and by keeping navigation inlets tion is the extremely high construction cost. stable. The conditions these activities were designed 4. Revetments. Revetments are blankets of non- to correct may have resulted from man-made erodible material placed on a bank, bluff, or changes in the island's geologic processes and, when escarpment to prevent erosion. Stone or concrete corrected, can lead to further changes. For example, blocks are commonly used. They are similar in beaches sometimes erode because buildings were function to seawalls, but are more flexible, built on or in front of the dunes. Replenishing the generally of lighter construction, and less expen- beach may only induce further unwise develop- sive. ment. 5. Breakwaters. Breakwaters for shore protection are usually massive stone structures located in Protection methods include: the sea and parallel to the shore. They interrupt 1. Artificial Fill and Nourishment. Restoration with the wave before it reaches the shore and reduce sand imported from another source and subse- the energy expended on the beach. This inter- quent periodic nourishment is one frequently ruption of wave action causes a calm landward employed method of rebuilding an eroded beach. of the breakwater, which slows the alongshore This method requires obtaining sand with suit- currents and causes sand to be impounded able characteristics from nearby bays, inlets, or behind the structure. This impoundment, 68 T-41 A however, occurs at the expense of downdrift serves a similar purpose in stabilizing dunes or beaches, whi 'ch are subsequently eroded. As in beach areas that are not used intensively for the case of groins, breakwaters may present only recreation. Vegetation is also effective in reduc- a temporary obstacle to longshore sand move- ing erosion of shorelines in bays and estuaries. ment. Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers of poten- 6. Jetties. A jetty is a structure extending into a tial beach protection projects consider the degree of body of water. It is designed to prevent shoaling existing development and probable development to of a navigation channel by littoral materials and determine the benefits of constructing the project. to direct and confine the stream of tidal flow. Jet- The major category of benefits provided by beach ties are built at the mouth of a river or tidal inlet protection concerns the prevention of losses by to help deepen and stabilize a channel. Most nav- storm-wave erosion of the land and developments igable inlets in the coastal United States are on the land. Beaches and dunes provide a natural maintained by jetties. In general, sand trapped means of defense against waves directly attacking updrift of these structures is transported structures, and against storm tides or storm surges downdrift by mechanical means-a process inundating the structures and facilities landward of termed "sand bypassing." In certain cases, such the dune line. Roads, bridges, and public utilities on as Ocean City, Maryland, sand is not bypassed. barrier islands may be vulnerable to damage during This creates a sand deficiency downdrift of the storms. The decision to construct a project to pre- jetty and subsequent erosion. The trapped sand vent damage is based on existing development and at Ocean City is used to form recreational the amount of normal growth expected without the beaches along the City's waterfront. project. 7. Other Methods. Sand fences can be an effective Enhancement of recreation is a second category method of trapping sand and helping to develop of benefits. The enhanced value of recreational use new dune lines, which then form a new first line associated with the proposed project compared to of defense against storm waves. Vegetation that associated with normal growth patterns for the 69 Figure 11. Town of Ocean City, Maryland Flood Insurance Rate Map ..... ....... JOINSOI ... ......... . . . . . ZONE I r @:x TZADS7 A .11. OFIDEk IC17 DATE .......... :1 35TI ST A.. F- EN-- L... ST m @:X 0. AS11 '0 A. .... A- TUAI. X X 20 X 'EIPIAIATIOIOIZ.NE EIU ... T-S .......... X x, A IIIIINT :X.. A, I ST- 3@ A A'... .1 S- E, X A.U.1-0I A .1 NNN,UU IINNNI T.U.1d, ISE., ..T, .... z ASN .0 7 .0 7,z A, ... I ITA. m 0, x: x ST It 1111* IANNI T 0 A'.. A' -V. INNNI A IN JA X 00 z z I.E. 1 0. N"O. E"T.`.'"@ -E E' All A 1.0A E""ES .1 T .1 S C ONT ST.. ST Aff E11.1.1E AD. 11.OD HSU ... @1 INIIIAL I-TIFICATION DATE JUL' 1 1170 ...... .-STO. -EC-E 1.11 1 111. 1. -- ZONE DISI ... T.O.S A, _,-,@T, b. ITAP REVISION IEFECIIVE DECIENUIER 19 I1ZT E, z ...... TO REFLECT CURVILINEAR ILOOD 11011DA11 x d. AND TO CONVEAT WME V ZONE 10 A ZONE S, ITT [email protected] A C. _SL _ A FROM95FEET TOI FEET , r-7 - ::X:: E] ZO.. A.. I ST::: a a Z..E V S ::X.: an City ExittTATISTA.Y......%...."..@ ...................... ... ZONE C ZONE ST. ST 0 .. ....... 1z 0 IS ic . _. @IIt x OFPAFT OF HOUSING ASO URSAN OEVCLOPM(NT A-AOXAAATE @ALI IODD 0 IDD. TOWN OF OCEAN CITY, MD FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP H 02 F 11.1LA- "1'916 (WORCESTER CO.1 FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP 1 -02 70 such as Miami Beach, Florida, where the beach has virtually been lost, and Ocean City, Maryland, where channel jetties have accelerated the erosion of the north end of Assateague Island. Cost is another issue to consider. The Army Corps of Engineers has spent nearly $33.5 million for shore- line stabilization on barrier islands during the past three fiscal years. This figure does not reflect long- term commitments such as that to reestablish the beach at Miami Beach or the high annual maintenance cost once a beach has been reconstructed. Additionally, information on Corps hurricane protection and beach erosion control pro- grams for fiscal years 1978 and 1979 indicates a total of 33 projects in various stages of advance design or construction involving barrier islands in 12 of the 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast States. Insurance & Disaster Relief As a result of the President's Reorganization Plan X Number 3 of 1978, transmitted to the Congress on June 19, 1978, the Federal Emergency Management "A 1 Agency (FEMA) has been established as an indepen- dent agency in the Executive Branch. The Federal Disaster Assistance Administration (FDAA) was abolished by Executive Order 12148 effective July 15, 1979, and FEMA has now assumed 0 the FDAA responsibilities. The Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) was transferred to FEMA by Executive Order 12127 on April 1, 1979. However, FIA retains its identity as an agency within FEMA. The program objectives of FEMA are to provide assistance to States, local government, individuals, and owners of selected non-profit facilities "in ex- pediting the rendering of aid, assistance, and emer- gency services, and the reconstruction and rehabili- tation of devastated areas. . . " and "to alleviate the area may be claimed as a project benefit if the beach suffering and damage which result from such is either publicly owned or open to public use. In disasters.. . " fact, the Federal government cannot participate in Section 201 of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, any shore protection project without the guarantee authorizes the establishment of disaster prepared- that the public will have access to the shoreline in ness plans, utilizing all appropriate agencies. It pro- the project area. In this way, Federal projects often vides for technical assistance and grants to the create public access to areas where access was prev- States in developing comprehensive disaster plans iously denied. However, the project to rebuild the and programs, to include hazard reduction, beach may not increase its dimensions beyond its avoidance, and mitigation. All States have already completed a $250,000 maximum one-time "develop- kimiio historical limits. ment" grant. Remaining funds provide 50/50 mat- The consequences of some of the structural solu- tions to coastal development are apparent in places ching grants up to $25,000 annually for updating 71 and improving their preparedness plans and encourage State and local governments to make capabilities. appropriate land use adjustments to constrict the Section 401 of the Act authorizes the repair, re- development of land which is exposed to flood construction, restoration or replacement of any damage and minimize damage caused by flood facility owned by the United States which is damag- losses," and "to ... guide the development of pro- ed or destroyed by any major disaster if it is deter- posed future construction, where practicable, away mined that such a facility is necessary. In imple- from locations which are threatened by flood menting the section, the appropriate Federal agency hazards. "59 There is evidence that neither of these is responsible for evaluating the natural hazards to goals are being met. which the facility is exposed and is required to take There are, however, different opinions as to the the necessary action to mitigate such hazards. How- effect of the Federal flood insurance program on ever, it should be noted that this section has not yet development of the barrier islands. According to a been delegated by the President. report prepared by H. Crane Miller for FIA,- the Section 406 also has important relevance to bar- availability of flood insurance tends to increase the rier island situations. This section requires, as a pressure for development on some flood-prone bar- condition for any loan or grant made under the pro- rier islands. This has happened in states such as visions of the Act, that the State or local govern- Rhode Island, where the availability of Federal ment agree that the natural hazards of the area in flood insurance has led banks to reverse their prev- which the loan or grant is to be used will be ious policy of denying loans for construction in evaluated and appropriate action taken to mitigate hazardous areas. Nevertheless, it does not appear to those hazards. be a widespread phenomenon. The main issue is not Under Title V of the Act, Recovery Planning whether the flood insurance program increases or Councils may be authorized and established follow- does not increase the pressures for development. ing a major disaster. These Councils are responsible More important is the fact that Federal tax dollars for determining when and under what conditions support the process of insuring and redeveloping recovery investment plans should be prepared. The structures in hazardous and ecologically fragile responsibility for this section was delegated by the areas. President (in Executive Order 12148) to the Director Although FIA structural requirements have of FEMA. However, it has not been funded or encouraged developers to construct buildings in implemented. such a way as to reduce their vulnerability to flood Council membership consists of, among others, damage, these requirements do not reflect a total locally elected officials and private citizens. Public awareness of the nature or the seriousness of the participation in Council deliberations is to be pro- hazards of building on barrier islands. For example, vided for and encouraged. This provision generally the 100-year flood levels used to determine mini- has been interpreted to be a vehicle to get a max- mum floor elevations are based on still-water levels. imum amount of recovery assistance into a Wave height and runup, which considerably in- devastated area as quickly as possible. crease storm water elevations and potential damage, are not included. Further, the require- Flood Insurance Program ments are more concerned with design than loca- tion. Thus, buildings can be designed to meet the Under the provisions of the Flood Disaster Protec- structural requirements but at the same time can be tion Act of 1973, communities having one or more clustered in highly exposed or hazardous areas. identified special flood hazard areas must enter into North Carolina's experience may be the best ex- the National Flood Insurance Program or be denied ample of this. The North Carolina Coastal Area Federal or federally-related financial assistance for Management Plans developed under Federal enabl- acquisition or construction purposes within those ing legislation (Coastal Zone Management Act of areas. 1972) resulted in the designation of Areas of En- The National Flood Insurance Program is admin- 1142 USC Sec. 4002(e). istered by the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA). The program'5 stated goals are: "To... 11H. Crane Miller, "Coastal Flood Hazards and the National Flood Insurance Program," June 1977. 72 (see Figure 10). Until this rate map has been publish- ed, and until a detailed rate study has been com- pleted, the community normally remains in the ini- tial or "emergency" phase of the flood insurance program. Congress has mandated completion of all I N of these rate studies by 1983, but at the current rate of progress, there may be a delay of up to 8 years, hence the 1991 date. When the study is completed and the rate map published, actuarial rates apply to all new construc- tion and substantial improvements. To date (Feb. 1978), however, only 1,500 communities have received this data and entered the "regular" pro- gram. Less than 500 additional communities per year will make the transition. The result of the delay is that 90% of the 15,000 flood-prone com- munities participating in the program are still in the initial ("emergency") phase, where only normal ade, such as for building permits requirements are in for construction. The current rate of entry into the regular program could be accelerated for barrier islands by making it a priority to provide data to them. According to Miller '61 "Half of the program's total limits of flood insurance coverage are avail- vironmental Concerns (AECs). Three categories of able under the emergency program and sold at fed- these designations (ocean erodible, inlet hazards, erally subsidized rates; subsidies have ranged as and estuarine shoreline) sometimes contain lands high as 90 percent of the cost of the flood insurance, with elevations equal to, or greater than, the and are currently about 60 percent." 100-year flood level. Even though some of these In addition to the slow rate of entry into the regu- lands may be expected to be eroded away in a lar program, a further limitation of the program is relatively short time, flood protection insurance that communities may choose not to participate, may still be available under the Federal program. thereby escaping the need to adopt floodplain management or land use restraints. Nonparticipa- Efforts are underway by the North Carolina tion or withdrawal may increase in the future as Coastal Resources Commission and the FIA to more communities discover the obligations of the make the two policies more consistent by insti- program's regular phase and as a result of Congress' gating necessary changes in the policy of the FIA. passage of the Housing Act of 1977, which removed There are provisions in the flood insurance pro- a key sanction of the program. The sanction was gram that will, in the future, restrict development the condition in Section 202(b) of the Flood Disaster to some degree. Communities participating in the Protection Act of 1973 which made the availability program will be required to adopt floodplain of mortgage loans to would-be floodplain residents management or land use restraints. However, it contingent upon community participation in the may not be until 1991 that all participating program. Participation would still be encouraged, communities are obliged to adopt these restraints, however, because it would remain a requirement due to the nature of the program. As it is set up, for receiving Federal flood insurance and Federal communities do not have to adopt these restraints until they enter the late ( 11 regular") phase of the aid for floodplain construction. flood program. This takes place after receipt from According to Miller, one impact of the change is the Federal Insurance Administration of flood plain fairly predictable-it will be increasingly difficult data, in the form of a Flood Insurance Rate Map 61Ibid. 73 for both the Federal Insurance Administration and Construction of wastewater treatment facilities is for local communities to strengthen their floodplain primarily funded by grants from Federal agencies, management regulations beyond the minimum re- such as the Environmental Protection Agency quirements now in force. These standards need to (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban be strengthened through the adoption of more Development (HUD), the Farmers Home Adminis- definitive setback requirements. A 30-year erosion tration in the Department of Agriculture (FmHA), setback (for the average life of a mortgage), or a and the Economic Development Administration in 67-year erosion setback (for the average life of a the Department of Commerce (EDA). building), could provide substantial protection to Under Section 201 of the Federal Water Pollution barrier islands. Control Act Amendments of 1972 '62 EPA is Of the nearly 300 study units identified in this authorized to grant up to 75% of the construction study, 188 are in communities covered by the Na- costs of new wastewater treatment facilities. For the tional Flood Insurance Program. As of May 4, 1979, period 1971 through 1978, State and local areawide 130 of these communities already were in the water quality management agencies whose terri- regular phase of the program; 55 still were in the tories include the barrier islands covered by this emergency phase of the program; and three were study received nearly $395 million in grants under not participating in the program. Section 201 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Of the 58 (55 + 3): One of the problems with EPA's facilities grants 36 have mapping studies underway program (201) is the fact that inadequate areawide 14 have mapping studies scheduled to start in planning has typically preceded construction of FY'79 treatment facilities. Therefore, 201 projects often 6 have no studies scheduled contribute to growth without adequate controls and 2 have studies completed and are scheduled to conditions and may lead to unplanned and un- convert to the regular program before the end wanted residential and commercial growth on bar- of calendar year 1979 rier islands. EPA regulations do not specifically designate bar- Wastewater Treatment Facilities rier islands as geographic areas of environmental Grants concern. Because EPA concentrates more on the adequacy of the justification and engineering design Wastewater treatment facilities are under construc- of the facilities, environmental assessments of pro- tion on many barrier islands. Alternatives to this posed projects are prepared under contract by construction should be carefully evaluated-parti- engineering firms, which may or may not be aware cularly that of clustered septic systems, where water of the specific conditions on barrier islands. table levels, pollution control, water supply, etc., The EPA Regional Administrator has the author- permit this approach. This evaluation must be care- ity to make a negative declaration on a project pro- fully and objectively conducted since soil scientists posal. When made, the decision is published in the have confirmed that a relatively small percentage of newspapers. If there is no adverse comment within the Outer Banks possesses soil characteristics 15 days, a full environmental impact statement suitable for septic systems. On the Outer Banks of (EIS) is not prepared. North Carolina, less than 20% of the land is con- If an EIS is required, it is usually done under con- sidered suitable for the proper filtration functioning tract by an environmental planning firm. Few EIS of conventional septic systems. Even these high, reports are prepared by EPA staff. EPA staff care- sandy areas are potentially troublesome because of fully consider a project's potential impacts on wet- high permeability and low filtration characteristics lands and on floodplains and require justification that allow contaminants to enter the valuable and for "unreasonable" 20-year estimated population limited groundwater supplies. Most of the remain- growth figures which may be attributed to a pro- ing 80% of the Banks have characteristically high ject. However, there is again no special significance water tables during extremely high tides and during attached to a proposal for a wastewater treatment periods of heavy rainfall. 1233 USC Sec. 1281. 74 WSW" "M N, i't 7 facility on or serving a barrier island community. water and sewer, neighborhood facilities, public EPA regulations for the areawide planning grants facilities, rehabilitation, open space, urban beautifi- (Section 208) do not specifically address barrier cation and historic preservation grant programs. islands. As a consequence, regional plans for water Although the law does enumerate general objec- quality management may not be detailed enough to tives which the block grants are designed to fulfill, permit analysis of planned or potential impacts on spending priorities are determined at the local level. individual barrier islands. Metropolitan cities and urban counties (having Water quality management plans could have par- populations of at least 50,000 and 20,000 respec- ticular significance for barrier islands because the tively) are guaranteed an amount called an "entitle- plans must project wastewater treatment needs for ment" which is based on a number of population, the next twenty years, and consider alternatives and poverty, and housing factors. Smaller communities land treatment needs. The plans are to include regu- compete for the remaining "discretionary" funds on latory programs to control all sources of water pol- the same basis. The discretionary fund amounts to lution identified by the State or designated local about 2% of the annual appropriation for CDBG agency. For exxmple, a building permit may be re- purposes. As with most other Federal financial quired for any construction in fragile ecological assistance programs, the CDBG guidelines do not areas. This permit would require an erosion and differentiate between barrier islands or uplands. Of sedimentation control plan and special monitoring the activities eligible for fund assistance under by State officials. Water quality management plans CDBG, water and sewer grants probably have the were originally due by November 1, 1978. How- greatest impact on barrier island development. ever, Congress provided additional funding for Sec- FmHA grants and loans to barrier island tion 208 and extended the deadline for plan sub- communities during the past three fiscal years ex- missions to June 1979. The influence of other agen- ceeded $26 million. More than 80 % of this money is cies providing wastewater grants-HUD, FmHA, earmarked for water and waste treatment facilities. and EDA-is similar to that of EPA. As one might EDA statistics indicate that a total of $22 million in expect, HUD's emphasis is urban while FmHA's is grants for wastewater treatment facilities was made primarily rural. EDA's waste treatment program is available nationwide during the past four fiscal small (in comparison to the others) and mixed. years. However, only a small percentage was for The HUD figures for fiscal year 1975 Community barrier islands. Development Block Grant (CDBG) program expen- ditures indicate that over $3.5 million in water and Small Business Loans sewer grants were made available to communities on barrier islands. Over $54 million was made The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides available to coastal counties that contain barrier direct loans or guaranteed/insured loans to: islands and to coastal communities in the 18 States involved in the study. The CDBG program finances a. assist business concerns suffering economic in- all activities previously eligible under urban jury as a result of certain designated disasters renewal, neighborhood development, model cities, (Economic Injury Disaster Loans); and 75 ... ........ -M b. restore, as nearly as possible, disaster damaged ities necessary to comply with water pollution con- physical property to predisaster conditions. trol requirements. Funds provided can be used for (Physical Disaster Loans). construction of pretreatment facilities and intercep- tor sewers. Loans are granted for up to 30 years at a rela- The SBA share of guaranteed loans may amount tively low interest rate. Economic disaster loans to as much as 90 % of the costs. may be used to pay certain liabilities and to con- tinue business in operation until "normal" condi- Federal Surplus Property tions are restored. No funds are available under this program for the repair or acquisition of equipment The General Services Administration (GSA) also or for real estate purposes. plays a role in barrier island development. GSA, Physical disaster loans may be made to indivi- under the provisions of the Federal Property and duals, business concerns, churches, private schools, Administrative Services Act of 1949 as amended, colleges and universities, and hospitals. Funds made currently leases a number of properties on barrier available through this program may be used to islands for various purposes, mostly Federal agency repair or replace realty, machinery, equipment, and space needs. However, GSA is also responsible for household or other personal property which was disposal of Federal surplus property. Not all future damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster which development plans are known to GSA at the time of occurred in an area designated as eligible for a disposal action. Unanticipated uses could occur assistance because of floods and other catastrophes. with the sale or transfer of title to real property The amendment contained in the Federal Water which might involve increased development on bar- Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 author- rier islands. izes the SBA to provide direct loans or guaranteed/ Cities, counties, and States may purchase Federal insured loans to assist small businesses to make surplus property for development purposes ranging additions to, or alterations in, equipment and facil- from parks and recreation to economic develop- 76 F"11 _A" ment (commercial and industrial) and many other probably require disclosure. Obviously, barrier uses. Although many surplus properties are con- islands could be made to appear extremely attrac- verted to recreational or wildlife uses by State or tive if it is not necessary to disclose the hazardous local governments, many are also assigned to the nature of barrier island living. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare The Office of Interstate Land Sales has indicated (DHEW) for conveyance to local governments for that approximately 1,700 subdivisions, both public health or educational purposes. As with registered and unregistered, are situated in 97 of 108 most other Federal agencies, GSA does not differen- counties on the barrier island list. To determine the tiate between barrier island and mainland sites in number of barrier islands that might be impacted by the administration of its programs. GSA now these subdivisions would require an examination of (December 1978) has 10 surplus property actions each subdivision file. pending on barrier islands in seven States, involv- ing approximately 20,000 acres. Economic Development Grants Interstate Land Sales The Economic Development Administration has primary responsibility for the Economic Develop- The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, ment Grants program under the provisions of the administered by the Department of Housing and Public Works and Economic Development Act of Urban Development (DHUD), may inadvertently 1965. Technical assistance is provided to help dis- contribute to the development of barrier islands. tressed areas evaluate and understand their prob- Although the Act was not designed by Congress to lems and economic potential. This assistance may influence the patterns of land use or the rate or tim- be in the form of: (1) studies to identify area needs ing of development of barrier islands, neither was it or solve industrial and economic problems; designed to discourage such development. In order (2) grants-in-aid, amounting to 75 percent of the to meet statutory requirements, land developers cost of planning and administering local economic (sellers) must make a property report available to development programs; and (3) management and each buyer, which discloses information on various operational guidance for private firms. aspects of the property involved. However, because Grants of up to 50 percent of the development of the volume and cost of printing, developers cost can be used for such public facilities as water usually make the reports available to DHUD, and and sewer systems, access roads to industrial parks potential buyers must obtain the information from or areas, harbor facilities, railroad sidings and that agency. spurs, public tourism facilities, vocational schools, The disclosure requirements apply to subdivi- flood control projects, and site improvements for sions without regard to the geographic location of industrial parks. Severely depressed areas that can- , t4@ the land. According to DHUD officials, the fact that not match Federal funds may receive supplemen- a subdivision is located on a barrier island would tary grants to bring the Federal contribution up to not by itself be sufficient to require disclosure. 80 percent of the project cost. However, lack of access by road or bridge would Loans also are available for public works and 77 development facility projects. Loans may pay the full cost of a project and may run for as long as 40 years, the interest being determined by government borrowing costs. A community that is not able to raise its share of the eligible project cost may receive a grant for 50 percent or more of the project's cost and a Federal loan for the remainder. Grants from the Economic Development Administration to pro- vide public facilities on a barrier island could accel- erate its development for urban use. Urban Planning Assistance The Department of Housing and Urban Develop- Federal Housing Administration (DHUD). The ment provides grants to assist comprehensive urban Federal Housing Administration (FHA), by insuring development planning programs in small commun- coinmercial lenders against loss, encourages them ities, States, and metropolitan areas. Activities to invest capital in the home mortgage market. FHA eligible for grants include: preparation of compre- insures loans made by private financial institutions hensive development plans, development of capital for up to 97 percent of the property value for terms improvement programs, coordination of inter- of up to 30 years. The loans may finance homes in governmental urban planning activities, and both urban and rural areas (except farm homes). preparation of regulatory and administrative Less rigid construction standards are permitted in measures (e.g., general plans, zoning, ordinances, ruralareas. etc.). Farmer's Home Administration (FmHA) loans Certain studies for overall economic development may be used to: construct, repair, or purchase programs under the U.S. Department of Commerce housing; provide necessary and adequate sewage are also eligible under this program. Grants may disposal facilities for the applicant and family; pur- also be made to cover the cost of studies and chase or install essential equipment which, upon research to develop and improve planning methods. installation, becomes part of the real estate; or, buy a site on which to place a dwelling for the Nuclear Power Plant Siting applicant's use. Housing debts may, under certain circumstances, be refinanced. Restrictions on the The Power Plant Siting Act6l provides assistance in use of the loans are that a dwelling financed for a constructing and operating nuclear power stations family with a low or moderate income must be for the production of electrical energy and by- modest in size, design, and cost. An applicant must product heat energy. Assistance may be provided in not have adequate housing or sufficient resources to the form of funds, loans of fuel or heavy water, or purchase the necessary housing, or related facilities. other services not available to the user. The user The applicant must also be unable to secure the should first consult with the Nuclear Regulatory necessary credit from other sources upon terms and Commission before developing a proposal for conditions which he or she could reasonably be ex- assistance. Construction of nuclear power facilities pected to fulfill. can destroy or impair barrier island environmental As with most other Federal agencies, neither FHA values. nor FmHA differentiates between barrier island or mainland sites in the administration of these pro- Home Mortgage Insurance grams. Home mortgage insurance programs are adminis- Mineral and Oil Exploration and tered by the Farmer's Home Administration, U.S. Extraction Department of Agriculture (USDA) and by the ,1P.L. 703; 68 Stat. 919. Ships, oil derricks, and sand dredges have been 78 Ir7 familiar sights to coastal inhabitants for years, but cient coordination between agencies and their pro- they represent only the beginning of the potential grams appear to be a major problem. For example, for extraction of resources along the thousands of the Coast Guard has no clear policy on how it will miles of coastline. The International Convention on administer the bridge permit program in such a way the Continental Shelf, which went into force in that it does not prejudice or compromise the later 1964, added more than 1 million square miles to the administrative decisionmaking of such agencies as public lands of the United States. the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Insurance The promise of oil and mineral resources near Administration. The Army Corps of Engineers has barrier islands and on the continental shelf has at- jurisdiction over construction and dredge-and4ill tracted increased attention as a source of economic activities in wetlands, and will often be called upon wealth and growth. However, our understanding of to exercise this jurisdiction over development of the distribution, richness, and extraction costs of barrier islands. The Corps does not, however, have fl, gas, anJ mineral deposits on barrier islands jurigidiction over bridge construction. Issuance of a 01 and, particularly, on the continental shelf is still bridge permit by the Coast Guard before the Corps very limited. There is presently no effective has a chance to pass on the merits of dredge-and-fill mechanism to provide adequate review and resolu- proposals may tend to prejudice, if not vitiate, the tion of conflictin8 interests prior to initiating leasing ultimate decision of the Corps, by presenting that procedures for Federally-owned barrier island and agency with the fait accompli of a bridge con- tidal lands. structed at great expense. Other than informing the Corps by means of a copy of the Public Notice that Conclusion: Program Coordination a bridge permit application is open for public com- ment, the Cow Cuard is not required to coordinate At least 20 Federal agencies are involved in more with the Corps for purposes of their responsibilities than 30 Federal programs that influence the degree under Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution and extent of barrier island development. Insuffi- Control Act. The Coast Guard's function is in- M M wmel dependent of the Corps' Section 404 function. Federal programs and policies designed to promote The Federal Insurance Administration has the conservation of barrier islands and their adopted regulations under the Flood Disaster Pro- resources. These programs often work at cross pur- tection Act that make Federal insurance subsidies poses, resulting in confusion, wasted dollars, and conditional upon sound construction and planning lost resources. practices. However, the Coast Guard has not yet The Federal Government should set the pace if determined how it will handle these policies, which goals of barrier island conservation are to be reach- are designed to prevent unsound development in ed. The coordination of programs to ensure evalua- flood-prone areas such as those universally found tion and suitable protection of barrier islands is an on barrier islands. economical way to achieve island conservation On the one hand, there are Federal programs and goals. It is also a good demonstration of public policies that tend to encourage development that is policy involving efficient and coordinated efforts to incompatible with natural processes and values of attain long-range goals. barrier islands and beaches. On the other, there are 80 U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1980-0-315-701 Barrier islands are different (They) contain fascinating ecosystems not found anywhere else ... Because of their inherent beauty, they are places of great attraction, offering not just scenic land and water scapes, but also the mystery and an allure that seacoasts always have had. We see today a pervasive disregard of the barrier islands' nature-of what ought to be their proper role. The balances are fragile, but the forces at work are not. It is clear that we cannot continue to develop barrier islands as if they were mainland sites. Sooner or later we have to pay for our mistakes. Robert L. Herbst Assistant Secretary of the Interior "The natural properties of barrier islands provide an absolutely unique combination of values. These islands are the front line of storm defense for a thousand miles of United States Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastline. They have scenic qualities- -vividness, -variety, and unity- unparalleled else- where in the coastal zone. They offer broad sandy beaches and a score of other recreational opportuni- ties. They provide habitats and food for unique biotic com mun ities- hundreds of species of coastal birds, fish, shellfish, reptiles, and mammals. John Clark Coastal Ecosystem Management John Wiley & Sons, New York (1977) For sale by the Sliperintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Wasbington, D.C. 20402 Stock Number 024-016-00127-3 U.S. Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service 3 6668 00002 3962