U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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 and subsequent amendments 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 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.

Hot Topics

Public Review Period Open for CBRS Units in Four States Affected by Hurricane Sandy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces a 120-day public comment period on draft revised boundaries for 148 units of the CBRS (112 existing units and 36 proposed new units) in Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. This project makes significant progress towards fulfilling a statutory requirement to modernize the entire set of CBRS maps. The proposed revisions are based on objective mapping criteria and are designed to fix technical mapping errors and add qualifying areas to the CBRS. The comment period will close on July 10, 2018. Learn more.

CBRA Guidance Following the 2017 Hurricane Season
After a Presidentially-declared disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other Federal agencies make expenditures and provide financial assistance to help communities recover and rebuild. Most Federal funding for disaster relief is prohibited within the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), with some exceptions. Guidance on where to find CBRS maps and data, CBRS property determinations, and CBRA consistency consultations is available on our website.

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: March 12, 2018