Potential Application of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to Washington State

by Hugh Shipman, Shorelands and Coastal Zone, Management Program, Olympia, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Congress reauthorized the coastal barrier resources act(CBRA) in 1990. Section 6 of the law directed the department of the interior to study the feasibility of extending the provisions of CBRA to the pacific coast. The original law, passed in 1982, had applied only to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Much of the resistance to CBRA in Washington State has derived from perceived differences in geology, meteorology, biology, and land use between the eastern seaboard and the west coast. Although there are many differences between coastal barriers on the two coasts, they share many basic characteristics, including their vulnerability to storms and other natural hazards, their rich habitat value, and their propensity for intensive development, There are hundreds of small barrier beaches and sand spits throughout the inland waters of Puget sound and there are several large coastal barriers on Washington's ocean coast. Although many of these have been developed, many have not. In 1992, the U.S.Fish and wildlife service preliminary maps of undeveloped coastal barriers on the west coast, including 81 possible sites in Washington. The process of revising these maps, reporting on the need to apply CBRA to the west coast, and soliciting public comment is underway and is expected to continue through 1993, This paper outlines the history of CBRA in Washington State and summarizes the geology, development, and ecology of coastal barriers in the state.

Subject Headings: Coastal processes | Sea water | Barrier islands | Geology | Highway barriers | Gates (hydraulic) | Beaches | Feasibility studies | Washington | United States

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