Barrier islands are ecosystems that border coastal shorelines and form a protective barrier between continental shorelines and the wave action originating offshore. In addition to forming and maintaining an array of coastal and estuarine habitats of ecological and economic importance, barrier island coastlines also include some of the greatest concentrations of human populations and accompanying anthropogenic development in the world. These islands have an extremely dynamic nature whereby major changes in geomorphology and hydrology can occur over short time periods (i.e. days, hours) in response to extreme episodic storm events such as hurricanes and northeasters. The native vegetation and geological stability of these ecosystems are tightly coupled with one another and are vulnerable to storm-related erosion events, particularly when also disturbed by anthropogenic development.