Coastal Barrier Resources Act

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CBRS Boundary Modifications

Aside from three minor exceptions, only Congress has the authority to modify boundaries of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) through legislation. The three exceptions are: (1) the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) 5-year review requirement that solely considers changes that have occurred to the CBRS by natural forces such as erosion and accretion; (2) voluntary additions to the CBRS by property owners; and (3) additions of excess federal property to the CBRS.  The Service is currently conducting a 5-year review that is planned for completion for the entire CBRS by late 2016.  Learn more …

Congress designated the initial CBRS units in 1982 and modified and expanded the CBRS in 1990. Since 1990, when technical mapping errors are found, Congress works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to revise the CBRS boundaries and enact technical correction legislation to adopt the revised CBRS map.

The Service receives numerous requests from property owners and other interested parties who seek to remove land from the CBRS. The Service does not recommend removing lands from the CBRS unless there is compelling evidence that a technical mapping error led to the inclusion of land in the CBRS. In order to determine whether a technical mapping error exists, the Service conducts a comprehensive review of the history of the CBRS unit in question, which includes an assessment of the Service's records for the unit, the controlling and historical CBRS maps of the area, the historical development status of the area, aerial imagery, land ownership information, and any materials submitted by interested parties.  The reviews are time and resource intensive and resources are limited.

If the Service finds a technical mapping error that warrants a change in one part of a CBRS map, we review all adjacent areas to ensure the entire map is accurate. This comprehensive approach to map revisions treats all landowners who may be affected equitably, and it also ensures that Congress and the Administration will not have to remap the same area in the future. This approach is a lengthy process but it allows the Service to improve the integrity of the entire CBRS by looking at boundary revisions in a holistic fashion instead of pursuing incremental fixes for individual areas on a single map.  Learn more about ongoing comprehensive map modernization projects …

What information does the Service need?

When assessing the appropriateness of a CBRS boundary change, the Service undertakes a comprehensive review process which includes researching the history of the area and the placement of the CBRS boundaries.  If you believe an area was developed at the time it was included within the CBRS, you must provide documentation (preferably in the form of official government records) to the Service that supports your claim.  Such documentation may include the following:

  • information from the local tax appraiser's office with the dates of construction for the structure(s) in question and
  • information from local utility companies with the date(s) that the infrastructure (sewer, water, electricity, and road(s) with a reinforced road bed) was on the ground for the area in question.
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