Coastal Barrier Resources System
Ecological Services

CBRA and Federal Flood Insurance

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) and its amendments prohibit most new federal expenditures that encourage development or modification of coastal barriers. The main prohibition affecting property owners is the prohibition on new federal flood insurance within the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS). Flood insurance is administered and provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Service does not have any information regarding private flood insurance and cannot provide recommendations for any particular insurance carrier. Please direct any flood insurance related questions to the NFIP.

Federal flood insurance is available within the CBRS if the subject structure was constructed (or permitted and under construction) before the CBRS unit's prohibition date (which is included in the Service's CBRA determination letter and shown on FEMA's FIRMs). If an existing insured structure within the CBRS is substantially improved or damaged (i.e., over 50 percent of the structure's market value), the Federal flood insurance policy cannot be renewed. For new or substantially improved structures located within an OPA, Federal flood insurance may be available if written documentation is provided certifying that the structure is used in a manner consistent with the purposes for which the area is protected (e.g., restroom facilities, visitors center, and employee housing within a park).

The NFIP has a Flood Insurance Manual (FIM) which is used primarily by insurers and agents selling and servicing Federal flood insurance. The FIM contains information regarding flood insurance eligibility for structures located within the CBRS and should be consulted prior to writing a flood insurance policy that may be affected by CBRA.

FEMA’s regulations implementing CBRA with regards to Federal flood insurance eligibility within the CBRS can be found in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (PDF) (CFR) Part 71.


How to Determine Whether an Area is Within the CBRS

Step 1: To learn whether a community contains CBRS units, click here.

Step 2: If the community contains System Units or Otherwise Protected Areas of the CBRS, follow the instructions on this page to use the CBRS Validation Tool (and to request an official CBRS Property Determination where necessary).


Disclosure of a CBRS Designation

Property owners are generally made aware of the CBRS designation affecting their property when they obtain a mortgage that requires flood insurance. There is, however, no Federal mandate for the disclosure of a CBRS designation by state and/or local officials or realtors at the time of purchase or construction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourages Federal, state, and local officials to integrate CBRS data into their GIS platforms and other information systems so that it is readily available to community officials, developers, property owners, prospective buyers, and others. We also encourage public officials to consider including CBRS information in building permit forms, planning documents, and outreach materials. Such voluntary actions can help to increase awareness of the CBRS and the associated prohibitions on Federal expenditures, which will help stakeholders make informed decisions about areas affected by the CBRA.

Last updated: June 6, 2019