This page provides a summary of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act Program and related links through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and fema.gov. Interested parties can gain access to coastal barrier resources, frequently asked questions, and information regarding natural resources and development near or on coastal barriers.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Congress recognized that certain actions and programs of the Federal Government have historically subsidized and encouraged development on coastal barriers, resulting in the loss of natural resources; threats to human life, health, and property; and the expenditure of millions of tax dollars each year. To remove the Federal incentive to develop these areas, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as part of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), and made these areas ineligible for most new Federal expenditures and financial assistance. These areas are identified on a set of maps that is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In most cases, the CBRS maps can only be modified through an Act of Congress.
The law encourages the conservation of hurricane-prone and biologically-rich coastal barriers by restricting Federal expenditures that encourage development, such as Federal flood insurance. Areas within the CBRS can be developed provided that private developers or other non-Federal parties bear the full cost. Between 1983 and 2010, CBRA was projected to have saved over $1 billion in Federal dollars and will save millions more in the future.