What We Do

Our primary responsibilities under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) include maintaining the official maps of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) and making recommendations to Congress for appropriate changes to the boundaries; consulting with federal agencies regarding federally-funded projects proposed within the CBRS, and determining whether properties are located “in” or “out” of the CBRS.

We maintain a CBRS Mapper that makes the official maps and boundary data more accessible to property owners, project proponents, and other stakeholders who need to know whether properties or project sites may be affected by CBRA.

We also provide a self-serve CBRS Validation Tool within the mapper for the public and other federal agencies to (in most cases) make a determination as to whether individual properties are located within the CBRS, which is important for the issuance of flood insurance policies, real estate transactions, and federal expenditures within the CBRS.

Ensuring that CBRS maps are updated, usable, and accurately depict CBRS boundaries are important goals of the Service. We are committed to modernizing the CBRS maps using digital technology to improve access to information, increase efficiency for infrastructure project planning, and increase accuracy and timeliness in determining whether individual properties are located with the CBRS. As of the end of 2021, we have prepared modernized maps for more than half of the CBRS units, comprising 31 percent of the CBRS. These modernized maps will help conserve natural resources and save taxpayer dollars by ensuring that federal funding for development activities is not provided in error within the CBRS. This work also allows us to correct any technical mapping errors that may negatively affect property owners and expand the CBRS to include eligible undeveloped land and associated aquatic habitat.

View official CBRS maps.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about our work and the Coastal Barrier Resources Act.

Our Services

Property Documentation

Within the CBRS, most new federal expenditures and financial assistance, including flood insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, are prohibited. Federal agencies may require documentation indicating whether or not a property or project site is within the CBRS before they approve federal funding or financial assistance in areas that contain CBRS units. The Service provides two ways for federal agencies and others to obtain such documentation:  the CBRS Validation Tool and CBRS Property Determinations.

Learn more about property documentation.

Coastal Barrier Resource Act Project Consultations

Prior to making federal expenditures or financial assistance available within a System Unit of the CBRS, federal agencies must request consultation with the Service to determine whether the project or activity is allowable under CBRA. Following this consultation, federal agencies may make federal expenditures and financial assistance available within CBRS units for activities that meet one of the exceptions under CBRA.

Learn more about Coastal Barrier Resource Act project consultations.

Boundary Modifications

Congress designated the initial CBRS units in 1982 and modified and expanded the CBRS in 1990. When technical mapping errors are found, Congress works with the Service to comprehensively revise the CBRS boundaries and enact technical correction legislation to adopt the revised CBRS map. Property owners and other interested parties may submit a request to remove land from the CBRS if that land was originally included in error.

Learn more about requests for boundary modifications.

Our Projects and Research

The Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-226) directed us to: (1) finalize a digital mapping pilot project that includes draft revised maps for approximately 10 percent of the entire CBRS and an accompanying report to Congress, and (2) create draft revised maps for the remainder of the CBRS.

To date, draft comprehensively revised maps have been created for 31 percent of the CBRS acreage (including those units included in the pilot project). Congress has enacted into law comprehensively modernized maps for about 9 percent of the CBRS acreage.

Learn more about historical changes to the CBRS.

The projects listed below make progress toward fulfilling the mandates in Pub. L. 109-226. Any maps produced through these efforts must be enacted by Congress to become effective. Learn more about the CBRS boundary modification process.

Sand dunes spotted with grasses under clear sky with ocean in the background.

The maps referenced on this page are comprehensively revised draft maps prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for public review (referred to as “proposed maps”) or Congressional consideration (referred to as “final recommended maps”). These draft maps make progress toward...

Aerial view of ocean breach surrounded by damaged beach front homes.

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) initiated a project to modernize the maps of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) units in the nine states along the North Atlantic coast most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,...

Toppled and uprooted large tree lays over sand on the forefront At a distance, more driftwood poke out of the water with the Atlantic Ocean as backdrop and a cloudy sky blanketing overhead..

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) requires the Secretary of the Interior to review the maps of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) at least once every 5 years and make such minor and technical modifications necessary to reflect changes in the size or...

Sandy barrier island beach at sunset with lighthouse in the distance.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) completed its initial Report to Congress: John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Digital Mapping Pilot Project in 2008, per a directive in Section 6 of the 2000 Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act (Pub. L. 106-514). The...