Coastal Barrier Resources System
Ecological Services

Credit: USGS Post-Hurricane Isaac Coastal Oblique Aerial Photographs Collected along the Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana barrier islands; 2012.


CBRS Mapper screen capture.

In the early 1980s, Congress recognized that certain actions and programs of the Federal Government have historically subsidized and encouraged development on coastal barriers, resulting in the loss of natural resources; threats to human life, health, and property; and the expenditure of millions of tax dollars each year.  To remove the federal incentive to develop these areas, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as part of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), and made these areas ineligible for most new federal expenditures and financial assistance. CBRA encourages the conservation of hurricane prone, biologically rich coastal barriers by restricting federal expenditures that encourage development, such as federal flood insurance. Areas within the CBRS can be developed provided that private developers or other non-federal parties bear the full cost.

Most Recent Announcements

Congress Makes Updates to Coastal Barrier Resources System Map in New Jersey
A map depicting six units of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) was made effective on December 16, 2016, via Public Law 114-314.  The new map (depicting revisions to three existing units and three entirely new units) is accessible via a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) on-line mapper. The affected units, comprising 739 total acres, are located in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey. The new map corrects errors and adds eligible undeveloped areas to the CBRS. Additional information about the new map is available on the Service’s website. Learn more

Final Digital Conversion Maps Available for CBRS Units in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands
The Service has conducted a digital conversion and 5-year review and prepared final revised maps for all of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System units in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and 14 units in Louisiana. We held a 30-day comment period on the draft maps for Federal, State, and local stakeholders in the fall of 2016.  The Service officially adopted the final revised maps upon publication of a second notice in the Federal Register (81 FR 90375) on December 14, 2016. Click here to access the final revised maps and for more information.

Service Sends Coastal Barrier Resources System Report to Congress with Updated Maps for 65 Units
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its Final Report to Congress: John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Digital Mapping Pilot Project, as well as final recommended maps for 65 CBRS units in Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The draft maps underwent public review in 2009 and were revised in 2016. The final recommended maps correct errors affecting property owners and add eligible undeveloped areas to the CBRS. The maps will only take effect if they are adopted by Congress through legislation. Learn more.

Last updated: May 12, 2017