Coastal Barrier Resources Act

What is CBRA?

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 established the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), comprised of undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Great Lakes coasts. The law encourages the conservation of hurricane-prone, biologically-rich coastal barriers by restricting federal expenditures that encourage development, such as the National Flood Insurance Program and federal grants.

Who manages CBRA?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the CBRS maps and advises federal agencies, landowners, and Congress on properties included and federal expenditures allowed in CBRS.

Why does the U.S. need CBRA?

CBRA is a free-market approach to conservation. These areas can be developed, but federal taxpayers do not underwrite the investments. Nationwide, CBRA has successfully deterred major development in 97% of its units. CBRA saves taxpayer dollars and encourages conservation at the same time. CBRA has saved over $1 billion and will save millions more in the future.

How does CBRA affect NTB?

CBRA affects approximately 56% of North Topsail Beach’s land mass. Homes within CBRA are ineligible for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. The public beaches within that unit are also ineligible for federal grants and aid. Because of the high expense of dune and beach projects, this prevents the town from properly maintaining the beach.

Why is the town advocating to be removed from CBRA?​

In North Topsail Beach, over 2,500 homes host a seasonal population of almost 30,000. This development started before the CBRA passed Congress, making the area ineligible for inclusion in CBRS. A 1982 Onslow County zoning map also documents direct access to paved roads for all lots, with a 1981 Fish and Wildlife infrastructure review confirming “paved road throughout the unit.” By the time CBRA passed, the high-rise bridge connecting these lots to the mainland had been there for 14 years.

This significant infrastructure – evidence of development, which should have excluded North Topsail Beach from CBRA – was missed because of Fish and Wildlife’s flawed surveying methods. 

Since the town's incorporation, the Board of Aldermen have worked to try and remove the town from CBRA.

What progress has the town made?

The Town continues to work toward correcting the L06 CBRA Map Unit through the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission with former Congressman Mike McIntyre of Ward & Smith, P.A. Attorneys at Law and The Ferguson Group in Washington, D.C..  Mr. McIntyre provides monthly updates to the TISPC on the progress made with legislators on Capital Hill.

In 2018 and again in 2019, Senator Tillis, the lead sponsor of the North Topsail Beach CBRA mapping bill (H.R. 2834/S.1406), along with Senator Burr and Representative Jones and then Rep. Rouzer (after Rep. Jones passing) introduced this legislation to fix the mapping issue.

Is your property in a CBRA Zone?

Check the NTB Shoreline Management Map (unofficial, cannot be used for insurance purposes).

An official CBRS Map is available on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (NC L06).

To understand how this may impact property in terms of insurance and mitigation assistance, please see the FEMA CBRS Fact Sheet.

Where Can I View CBRS Boundaries?

Historically, CBRS Boundaries were shown on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Beginning 1/25/2019, CBRS boundaries will no longer be shown on FIRMs.

USFWS is the authoritative data provider for CBRS Boundaries. USFWS is not able to display maps dynamically and anticipates more frequent future updates. Up-to-date CBRS information is available here: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: CBRA Maps & Data.

For map information services, please contact the Floodplain Administrator Deb Hill.

How Do I Review Past reports?

Please click here to view Past CBRA Documents & Reports.

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