Coastal Barrier Resources Act

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Coastal Barrier Resources System Map Modernization

Supporting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability following Hurricane Sandy

The Secretary of the Interior announced on October 24, 2013, $162 million in federal funding for 45 projects to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future storms. This included a $5 million project to modernize the maps of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) for eight states most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. This project will help increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitats and infrastructure to withstand future storms and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms. The CBRS was established in 1982 with the passage of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), which designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts as part of the CBRS, and made these areas ineligible for most new federal expenditures that encourage development, including federal flood insurance.

The 3.2 million acres that comprise the CBRS are depicted on a set of maps that are maintained by the Department of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Most of the existing CBRS maps were created more than 20 years ago and are outdated technologically, difficult to use, and in some cases contain errors that adversely affect property owners. The funding for this project will enable the Service to modernize the maps for about 370 CBRS units within the Hurricane Sandy affected states. This project will make significant progress towards fulfilling a Congressional mandate to modernize the entire set of CBRS maps.

Comprehensively revising the CBRS maps will help enhance coastal resiliency and sustainability following Hurricane Sandy by improving federal agency compliance with CBRA and by adding other vulnerable coastal areas that qualify as undeveloped coastal barriers to the CBRS. This effort will also correct mapping errors that negatively affect property owners and provide more accurate and accessible CBRS data for planning coastal infrastructure projects, habitat conservation efforts and flood risk mitigation measures.

The Service plans to prepare comprehensively revised draft maps for the eight states by 2017. However, the Service’s recommended changes to the CBRS (including proposed removals and proposed additions) will only become effective once the revised maps are enacted into law by Congress.

To learn more about the 45 restoration and research projects to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future storms, view the Department’s press release at:

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