Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society

Future of Barrier Islands


Future of Barrier Islands

In recent years, there have been numerous studies investigating how barrier island systems respond to change in sea level and impacts created by storms as they erode sediment and destroy coastal property. Because barrier islands form a true barrier along many inhabited coastal zones, they represent a line of defense for inland communities from the destructive power of storm surges and waves that are driven by large storms. Unfortunately, however, there are global trends in barrier size reduction because of reduced sediment input caused by damming rivers, human modifications to coastal systems, storm-driven erosion, and relative sea level rise.

In future modules, we will explore the dilemmas facing communities located on barrier islands and the question of whether these communities can expect to survive.

Check out these links to explore barrier islands further:

Louisiana's barrier islands: Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program: Barrier Islands

Video and article on restoring Louisiana's barrier islands: Restoring Louisiana's Barrier Islands