The U.S. Senate approved legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons to adjust the boundary of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act map unit for North Bethany Beach.
The legislation will implement a recommendation made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after its discovery during the recent digital mapping pilot project that a portion of the North Bethany Beach unit, which encompasses the South Shore Marina development, was included by mistake when the map was created in 1990. This change to the map may only be made through congressional action. The legislation will now be sent to the House of Representatives.
In November 2016, FWS sent a report to Congress that included the results of the mapping pilot project, which was required by the 2006 Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act. Delaware was part of the pilot project, and the report contains the recommendation for this map change.
Enacted in 1982, the CBRA is a map-based law that recognizes that certain actions and programs of the federal government subsidize and encourage development on coastal barriers. However, coastal building, if done in the wrong places, contributes to the loss of natural resources and threatens human life, health and property. The CBRA system currently contains 859 geographic units in 23 U.S. states and territories along the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico coasts. The CBRA units are depicted on a set of maps that is maintained by the Secretary of the Interior through FWS.
While CBRA does not prohibit or regulate development, it removes the federal incentives to build on these undeveloped, unstable and environmentally sensitive areas. As it reviewed digital mapping results, FWS consulted South Bethany Beach area property owners, as well as the state government, who all concur with the map change.