Conserving the Nature of America
Service Makes New Congressionally Enacted Coastal Barrier Resources System Maps Available

December 31, 2014


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Maps depicting 11 units of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System were made effective on December 18 via Public Law 113-253. The affected units, comprising 19,893 total acres, are located in Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. The new maps (depicting revisions to ten units and one entirely new unit) are accessible via an online mapper on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website at

The new maps correct errors affecting property owners and add eligible undeveloped areas to the system.

The system was established in 1982, and helps to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the intensity of development within hazard-prone and ecologically sensitive coastal areas. It comprises a total of 856 geographic units that encompass 3.2 million acres of relatively undeveloped coastal barrier areas located along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes coasts, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most new federal expenditures and financial assistance that encourage development are prohibited within the system, including federal flood insurance. However, development still can occur within the system, provided that private developers or other non-federal parties bear the full cost, rather than  being subsidized by the American taxpayers.

When Congress reauthorized the Coastal Barrier Resources Act in 2006, it directed the Service to prepare updated maps of the system  using modern digital technology. Congress last enacted legislation to update a map of the system  in 2008. To date, comprehensively modernized maps are effective for about three percent of the system. The Service plans to prepare draft  revised maps for areas along the North Atlantic coast (about 16 percent of the system) by 2017.

Additional information about the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System can be found on the Service’s website at  

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