Main Content

Coastal Barrier Resources System

What is a Coastal Barrier Resources System? How can I determine if a property is located in one of these areas?


The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 established the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), a defined set of coastal barrier units located along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts. These areas are delineated on a set of maps that are enacted into law by Congress and maintained by the Department of the Interior through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). Most new Federal expenditures and financial assistance are prohibited within the CBRS.  The prohibition that is most significant to homeowners and insurance agents is the denial of Federal flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for new or substantially improved structures within the CBRS.  CBRA does not prevent development, and it imposes no restrictions on development conducted with non-Federal funds. Congress enacted CBRA to minimize the loss of human life, wasteful Federal expenditures, and damage to the natural resources associated with coastal barriers.

Although FEMA includes CBRS and OPAs on flood maps because of their relevance to the sale of flood insurance, this is for informational purposes only. The official CBRS maps are maintained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). For the most current and best available CBRS maps and boundary data, please go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s CBRS Mapper.  Additional information regarding CBRA property determinations is provided on the FWS website at https://www.fws.gov/ecological-services/habitat-conservation/cbra/Determinations.html.

Question Categories

Was this answer helpful?

Didn't find what you were looking for? Search all of FEMA.gov or Ask a question

Last Updated: 
Wed, 09/28/2016 - 13:50