Conserving the Nature of America
Bulletin
Service Sends Updated Coastal Barrier Resources System Maps to Congress
Additions and removals for units in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida

August 12, 2021

Contact(s):

Brian Hires, Brian_Hires@fws.gov, 703-358-2191



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted to Congress seven draft revised maps for John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) units located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. If adopted, the revised maps would remove a total of 34 acres (mainly uplands) from the CBRS to address mapping errors, and add a total of 10,012 acres (mainly wetlands and open water) that meet the criteria for an undeveloped coastal barrier.

The recommended changes will only take effect if adopted by Congress through legislation. Development still can occur in areas added to the CBRS provided that private or other non-federal parties bear the full cost of building or re-building in these highly vulnerable, biologically important areas.

The CBRS was established by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) in 1982 to save federal taxpayer dollars and reduce the intensity of development within hazard-prone and ecologically sensitive coastal areas. It prohibits most new federal expenditures and financial assistance within the CBRS, including federal subsidies associated with infrastructure projects, disaster assistance, and flood insurance. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Coastal Research found that CBRA has saved Americans $9.5 billion between 1989 and 2013 and forecasts that additional savings will range between $11 and $109 billion during the next 50 years.

The five comprehensively revised maps submitted to Congress are for Units P32/P32P in Okaloosa and Walton counties, Florida, and Units M06/M06P, M11, SC-09P, and M12/M12P in Beaufort and Charleston counties, South Carolina. The revisions to these maps would remove from the CBRS 30 acres (including 42 structures) and add to the CBRS 10,012 acres (including one structure).

Additionally, the Service has submitted to Congress two minor and technical correction maps. The changes on these maps address errors affecting previously modernized maps for a unit in Florida and a unit in North Carolina that were adopted by Congress in 2006 and 2018 respectively. These corrections, for Unit FL-95P in Walton County, Florida and Unit L06 in Onslow County, North Carolina, would remove from the CBRS less than four acres total (containing three structures) to address technical mapping errors. The errors were a result of the limitations of Geographic Information Systems data (including parcels and aerial imagery) that were available in the early 2000s, when the mapping work was done for these units. The Service has prepared revised maps to reflect these minor changes and technical corrections, and has determined that no other changes are needed to these maps.

The Service’s ongoing CBRS modernization efforts have helped bring the maps into the 21st century and grant relief to hundreds of private property owners along the coast. Additional information is available on the Service’s website at: https://www.fws.gov/cbra.


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