Coastal Barrier Resources Act Project Consultation

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) established the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System
Learn more about the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System, which was established under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act in 1982.

Learn more about John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System
(CBRS), a defined set of geographic units along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts. The CBRA encourages the conservation of hurricane prone and biologically rich coastal barriers coastal barriers
Learn more about coastal barrier landforms.

Learn more about coastal barriers
. No new federal expenditures or financial assistance may be made available within the System Units of the CBRS, including: construction or purchase of roads, structures, facilities, or related infrastructure, and most projects to prevent the erosion of or otherwise stabilize any inlet, shoreline, or inshore area. However, a federal agency, after consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), may make federal expenditures and financial assistance available within System Units for activities meeting one of the exceptions under the CBRA.  

There are two types of units within the CBRS, System Units and Otherwise Protected Areas (OPAs). OPAs are denoted with a “P” at the end of the unit number (e.g., “FL-64P”). Most new federal expenditures and financial assistance, including federal flood insurance, are prohibited within System Units. The only federal spending prohibition within OPAs is on federal flood insurance; other federal expenditures are permitted. Consultation with the Service is not needed if the proposed action or project is located within an OPA. However, agencies providing disaster assistance that is contingent upon a requirement to purchase flood insurance after the fact are advised to disclose the OPA designation and information on the restrictions on Federal flood insurance to the recipient prior to the commitments of funds. 

Who Needs It? 

Federal agencies proposing to spend funds affecting a System Unit of the CBRS. 

Consultation Process 

Step 1 - Review

  • In the early stages of project planning, federal agencies may request technical assistance from the appropriate Ecological Services Field Office. Discussions between the two agencies may include whether the proposed  action area action area
    All areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action.

    Learn more about action area
    affects units of the CBRS and whether the project requires consultation under CBRA. Agencies may use the Service's digital project planning tool, 
    Information for Planning and Consultation, to get a list of CBRS units that intersect the action area. IPaC IPaC
    Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) is a project planning tool that streamlines the USFWS environmental review process

    Learn more about IPaC
    also provides a variety of other information about the action area that may be useful for other environmental review processes, including a list of species, critical habitats, and other resources that may be present in the action area.
  • The Service has also developed a flow chart to assist federal agencies in determining whether CBRA consultation is necessary.

Step 2 – Send Written Request to Field Office

  • Any federal agency proposing to spend funds affecting a System Unit of the CBRS must send a written request to the appropriate field office with a description of the project or action, the location of the project or action, the particular CBRA exception(s) that applies to the project or action, an explanation of how the project or action meets that exception(s), and any other supporting materials. 
  • The Service has developed a CBRA consultation template to facilitate this process.
  • It is the responsibility of the funding agency to provide evidence that a proposed project or action meets an exception under CBRA.

Step 3 – Determination

  • The field office provides an opinion regarding whether the proposed project or action meets an exception under CBRA.
  • If none of the exceptions under CBRA are applicable, the proposed project or action should not proceed with federal funding or financial assistance.
  • The final decision regarding whether to proceed with the project rests with the action agency.

Get Started

Federal agencies may submit the following template and any additional documentation to the appropriate field office to fulfill the CBRA’s consultation requirement.  

Please note: Any response from the Service to a CBRA consultation request is in the form of an opinion only. The Service has not been granted veto power. The responsibility for complying with the CBRA and the final decision regarding the expenditure of funds for a particular action or project rests with the federal funding agency. 

Library Collections

Aerieal view of saltwater (intertidal) wetlands.
This library collection includes resources and information related to Coastal Barrier Resources Act project consultations, as well as guidance for shoreline stabilization, disaster assistance, and property buyouts.