Coastal Barrier Resources System Property Documentation

​The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is responsible for maintaining the official maps of 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). Within the CBRS, most new federal expenditures and financial assistance, including flood insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), are prohibited. Federal agencies may require documentation indicating whether 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. 

What is the CBRS Validation Tool? 

The CBRS Validation Tool is a self-serve tool accessible through the CBRS Mapper that allows any user (e.g., surveyors, property owners, insurance agents, real estate agents, and federal agencies) to select a particular location and produce a document entitled “CBRS Mapper Documentation,” which indicates whether that location is within or outside of the CBRS. For locations within the CBRS, the documentation produced by the tool indicates the  flood insurance prohibition date flood insurance prohibition date
A flood insurance prohibition date refers to the date on which the prohibition on Federal flood insurance first took effect for a given area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program uses this date to determine whether a structure located within the CBRS is eligible for Federal flood insurance. Federal flood insurance is available within the CBRS for structures that were constructed (or permitted and under construction) before the area’s flood insurance prohibition date (which is generally tied to the date that the area was first established as either a System Unit or OPA, but may differ in some cases). If an existing insured structure within the CBRS is substantially improved or damaged (i.e., more than 50 percent of the structure’s market value), its Federal flood insurance policy cannot be renewed).

Learn more about flood insurance prohibition date
 and the System Unit establishment date (where applicable). This documentation can be used to either obtain flood insurance through the NFIP for eligible structures or to otherwise document a location’s status within or outside of the CBRS for other purposes (e.g., real estate transactions or applications for federal financial assistance). 

Access the CBRS Validation Tool

Note: The CBRS Validation Tool will not provide in/out CBRS documentation for locations that are within the “CBRS Buffer Zone” (i.e., areas within about 20 feet of a CBRS boundary). Such locations require a CBRS Property Determination letter from the Service. 

What is a CBRS Property Determination? 

A CBRS Property Determination is an official letter from the Service that indicates whether a specific property or project site is located within or outside of the CBRS. The Service only provides such determinations for properties that are within 20 feet of a CBRS boundary (i.e., areas within the “CBRS Buffer Zone” depicted in the CBRS Mapper). This includes structures bisected by the boundary. All other locations should be verified using the CBRS Validation Tool. 

The Service's determination is based upon materials provided by the requester and the official CBRS map of the area. The Service's response letter contains an in/out determination and the prohibition date for federal flood insurance if the property is located within the CBRS. 

Who Needs It 

Any federal agency, property owner, or other interested party, except insurance agents, may use the CBRS Validation Tool or request a CBRS property determination for a specific property or project site.   

Paperwork Requirements 

For the Service to make a CBRS Property Determination, the requester should submit:

  • A valid address along with the output from the CBRS Validation Tool indicating that the location is within the CBRS Buffer Zone.
  • The requestor should also submit any additional documentation necessary to help the Service positively confirm the location of the property, such as a map showing the location of the property, a property record card, survey, deed, and/or elevation certificate. 


Step 1 - Submit Property Determination Request

  • All interested parties, except insurance agents, may submit property determination requests for locations within the CBRS Buffer Zone directly to the Service’s Headquarters Office at  
  • Insurance agents should send requests for CBRS property determinations to NFIP Direct, or the NFIP Write Your Own insurer to whom the application for flood insurance coverage is being made. The insurer will send the request to the NFIP Bureau & Statistical Agent, who will in turn submit the case to the Service for an official determination. 

Step 2 - Option to Submit New Information

  • Note: There is not an official appeals process; however, interested parties may submit new information to the Service at and ask for a reevaluation of the case if they believe a CBRS determination is incorrect. If the location of the property has been correctly determined in relation to the CBRS boundary, then the Service's determination will not be changed.​ 


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