Coastal Sand Dune Systems

Related page: Please see the NRPA Page for rules, forms, and contacts related to activities in Coastal Sand Dune Systems.


Unlike most terrestrial systems, the coastal dune system moves over the landscape and across property boundaries. This migrating dune system is difficult to preserve. However, it needs to be protected and restored. A healthy dune system protects property by reducing the energy of storm waves. It is the best defense against coastal flooding, erosion, and sea-level rise. It provides tremendous economic benefit to the local economy. A healthy coastal sand dune system is also the least costly way to maintain a recreational beach for future generations.


  • Information about current and recent rulemakings can be found on the Rulemaking Page.
  • In checking for rulemakings on the rulemaking page, note that standards specifically concerning coastal sand dune systems are found in Chapter 355, Coastal Sand Dune Systems, as well as Chapter 305, Permit by Rule, Section 16.



"Coastal sand dune systems" means sand and gravel deposits within a marine beach system, including, but not limited to, beach berms, frontal dunes, dune ridges, back dunes nd other sand and gravel areas deposited by wave or wind action. Coastal sand dune systems may extend into coastal wetlands. 38 MRSA 480-B(1)

The term "sand dune system" is used interchangeably with the terms "beach system, " coastal sand dune," "coastal sand dune system," and "dune system". The statutory definition of "coastal sand dune systems" in 38 M.R.S.A. Section 480-B(1) applies equally to all these terms. Sand dune systems include sand deposits within a marine beach system which have been artificially covered by structures, lawns, roads, and fill. Sand dune systems also include all vegetation which is native to and occurring in the system. 06-096 CMR 355(1)(W)