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Tales of the Coast
Corps and the Coast

Environmental Restoration

The coastal zone is home to a rich array of natural resources. All manner of wildlife is found along the coasts, but habitat loss and degradation have taken place throughout coastal areas as development and agriculture have increased.

The Corps actively works to restore and rejuvenate coastal ecosystems. Wetland restoration and creation is carried out under the "no net loss" policy pertaining to wetlands. Beach nourishment can also assist in environmental restoration by providing a sandy beach and dune system for wildlife.

A number of laws and regulations concern environmental protection, and the Corps utilizes this legislation to ensure that ecosystems are maintained. Examples include:

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970, which mandates environmental impact assessments and the adoption of the least environmentally damaging option for development.

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972, requiring consideration of ecological, cultural, historical and aesthetic values when carrying out construction or engineering in the coastal zone.

Through restoration projects and its regulatory duties, the Corps is dedicated to restoring and protecting the dynamic, and often fragile, ecosystems of the coastal zone.

 

Protecting Habitats: The endangered piping plover nests and feeds on the barrier flats of Assateague Island, Maryland. The Corps worked with the National Park Service to modify a storm berm to allow overwash necessary to create the barrier flat ecosystem. This project combines shore protection and environmental restoration by maintaining the berm and also providing the conditions for habitat renewal.