Broward County: Identifying sites vulnerable to floods now, sea level rise later

Jennie Hoffman
Posted on: 2/12/2017 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

In February 2013, the Broward County Board of Commissioners added a Climate Change Element (CCE) to the county’s comprehensive plan with the goal of creating a framework to reflect environmental and socioeconomic factors related to climate change. The CCE is organized around eight themes: (1) addressing greenhouse gas emission reduction, (2) interagency coordination, (3) emergency preparedness, (4) social considerations, and (5-8) protection and adaptation of transportation, the built environment, natural systems, and water resources and services. Under each theme is a specific objective and a number of polices aimed at achieving that objective. Policy 19.3.13 of the CCE mandates that the county work with local municipalities to designate Adaptation Action Areas (AAAs) defined by Florida Statue 163.3177(6)(g)10 as “coastal zones that are experiencing coastal flooding due to extreme high tides and storm surge, and are vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea level.” Designation of AAAs helps counties prioritize funding for adaptation planning and investment. While Florida amended state law in 2012 to define AAAs and suggest them as an optional component of local comprehensive plans, Broward County is the first to take advantage of this new planning tool. State law defines AAAs primarily based on sea level rise vulnerability or previous designation as storm surge evacuation zones, and suggests that counties adopting AAAs consider policies to increase resilience to coastal flooding. The Climate Change Element won a 2013 Merit Award from the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association.


Hoffman, J. 2017. Broward County: Identifying sites vulnerable to floods now, sea level rise later. Summary of a project of Broward County, Florida. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2017)

Affiliated Organizations

Since 2007, Broward County has recognized that the vulnerability of the county to climate impacts and the need to plan for climate change. In 2008 the Board of County Commissioners created the Broward County Climate Change Task force to develop a countywide Climate Change Program and provide recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on strategies to mitigate the causes and adapt to the consequences of climate change. The Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management Division staff is responsible in supporting the Broward County Climate Change Task Force.


Habitat/Biome Type