Main Content

Coastal Barrier Resources System

Coastal Barrier Resources System History

Coastal barriers are unique land forms that provide protection for distinct aquatic habitats and serve as the mainland's first line of defense against damage from coastal storms and erosion.

Congress recognized the vulnerability of coastal barriers to development by passing the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) in 1982. By restricting Federal spending and financial assistance which have the effect of encouraging development of coastal barriers, Congress aimed to reduce the loss of human life, wasteful spending of Federal money, and damage to fish, wildlife, and other natural resources associated with coastal barriers along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The CBRA, while not forbidding privately financed development, does not allow new Federal financial assistance, including flood insurance, within a designated Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS).

In 1990, Congress passed the Coastal Barrier Improvement Act (CBIA). The CBIA tripled the size of the System established by the CBRA. The CBIA also does not allow the issuance of new Federal flood insurance within "otherwise protected areas" on buildings constructed after November 16, 1991, unless the building is used in a manner related to the reason the area is protected. Otherwise Protected Area's (OPA’s) are generally used for activities such as fish and wildlife research and refuges.

For more information on CBRS and OPAs, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Website at

Select the appropriate state to retrieve a listing of CBRS communities

Choose state:

This website page is for informational and notification purposes only. The information contained on this page does not determine flood insurance eligibility or status in relation to the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) or Otherwise Protected Areas (OPA's) but merely alerts the viewer whether a particular Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panel contains a portion of the CBRS or an OPA. Further study of the FIRM and property location and/or the building's date of construction in relation to the CBRS designation date is necessary to determine whether a specific property is eligible for flood insurance.

Last Updated: 
04/22/2013 - 16:01