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.
CBRA encourages the conservation of hurricane prone, 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.
In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed its initial Report to Congress on the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Digital Mapping Pilot Project, per the 2000 Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act. The 2008 pilot project report contained draft maps that proposed modifications to the CBRS and described the methodology and results of the pilot project and the feasibility, data standards and needs, and costs of completing digital maps for the remainder of the CBRS.
The Service has completed its Final Report to Congress as well as final recommended maps for 65 CBRS units in Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The draft maps underwent public review in 2009 and were revised in 2016. The final recommended maps correct errors affecting property owners and add eligible undeveloped areas to the CBRS. The maps will only take effect if they are adopted by Congress through legislation. The maps are accessible here.