Department Reinstates Long-Standing Interpretation of Coastal Barrier Resources Act for Shoreline Stabilization Projects

The Department of the Interior (Department) has reinstated its long-standing interpretation under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) as it relates to certain federally-funded shoreline stabilization projects. The Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will once again advise federal agencies that sand from within the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) may not be used to nourish beaches located outside of the CBRS under the exception for “nonstructural projects for shoreline stabilization that are designed to mimic, enhance, or restore a natural stabilization system” (16 U.S.C § 3505(a)(6)(G)). This decision is based on a July 14, 2021 legal interpretation of the CBRA exception and reaffirms a position the Department held on this matter from 1994-2019.

Federal agencies may contact their local Ecological Services field office to determine how this interpretation will affect specific projects.

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