|barrier island (bār'ē-ər) Pronunciation Key
A long, narrow sand island that is parallel to the mainland and serves to protect the coast from erosion. Barrier islands typically have dunes along the exposed outer side, zones of vegetation in the interior, and swampy areas along the inner lagoon.
Any low sandy island that is parallel to the mainland and protects it from storms. (See Cape Hatteras.)
Note: Barrier islands normally change location every ten to thirty years, a fact that makes coastline management a major problem in environmental policy.