Supporting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability in the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy

Costal Barrier Resources System Map Modernization: Supporting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability in the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy


In October 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was awarded $5 million through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to comprehensively modernize the maps of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) for the eight states most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. This project will result in revised maps for about 370 CBRS units comprising about 44 percent of the total units in the CBRS.


Comprehensively revising the CBRS maps will help increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitats and infrastructure to withstand future storms, and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms by: (1) improving the accuracy and usability of the CBRS maps which will help enhance awareness of and compliance with CBRA and (2) by adding other vulnerable coastal areas that qualify as undeveloped coastal barriers to the CBRS. This effort will also correct mapping errors affecting property owners and provide more accurate and accessible CBRS data for planning coastal infrastructure projects, habitat conservation efforts, and flood risk mitigation measures.


The CBRS was established in 1982 with the passage of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA). The CBRA and its amendments designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts as part of the CBRS, and made these storm-prone and biologically sensitive areas ineligible for most new Federal expenditures that encourage development, including Federal flood insurance.


The Service plans to prepare comprehensively revised draft maps for the eight states listed above by the end of 2017. However, the Service’s recommended changes to the CBRS (including proposed removals and proposed additions) will only become effective once the revised maps are enacted into law by Congress. Additional information concerning the Hurricane Sandy CBRS mapping project can be found at:


For more information about the CBRA, visit