Florida's Community Resiliency Initiative 2011-2017

Posted on: 11/03/2018 - Updated on: 2/28/2020

Posted by

Katherine Wallace

Project Summary

In January 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved the Florida Coastal Management Program’s (FCMP) Coastal Zone Enhancement Grant (Section 309), which supported the statewide Community Resiliency Initiative, coordinated by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The Section 309 strategy focused on planning for sea level rise, and activities included an inventory of technical assistance resources, risk and vulnerability assessments for pilot communities, sea level rise adaptation plans for three pilot communities, and development of education materials for local government outreach and community implementation.


The Initiative, funded by NOAA, was a +5-year project to integrate adaptation to potential sea level rise into current planning mechanisms including the local comprehensive plan, local hazard mitigation plan, and post-disaster redevelopment plan. Taking an inventory of resources and identifying a model to map Florida’s coasts for sea level rise impacts that met federal and state data and assessment requirements was a crucial first step for treating sea level rise as an issue that affects hazards in relevant planning platforms.

This effort was steered by a Focus Group of statewide experts on adaptation and coastal vulnerability as well as stakeholders in coastal areas. The 5-year Scope of Work built partnerships, selected pilot communities and developed preliminary statewide guidance on adaptation planning, piloted adaptation planning guidance at three coastal communities, and compiled lessons learned and disseminated results through a series of deliverable documents. The Florida Adaptation Planning Guidebook is the final product that provides guidance for preparing an adaptation plan that touches all sectors of a community as well as technical resources and funding opportunities.



The Community Resiliency Initiative built on the successful collaboration between DEO and the Florida Department of Emergency Management in previous planning initiatives. The Initiative culminated in adaptation planning pilots conducted in three communities across the state and facilitated the implementation of the state’s first Adaptation Action Area. Technical assistance was provided to coastal communities for innovative planning and development strategies, including funding opportunities, a statewide focus group, pilot communities, vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans, and development of technical assistance documents. The Adaptation Planning Guidebook and Resilience Addendum to the Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan are two major products produced by the Initiative. Both of these guidebooks provide context for sea level rise planning, steps to conducting a vulnerability assessment, adaptation and implementation strategies, and funding opportunities. Other activities from the Initiative include technical reports detailing various modeling tools for communities to utilize in their planning process.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The Community Resilience Initiative provided guidance to plan for sea level rise in three pilot communities. In addition to guidance resources, efforts behind the Initiative have led to government action. Starting in 2013, Florida’s coastal communities have incorporated Adaptation Action Areas, an optional comprehensive plan designation for areas that experience coastal flooding and are vulnerable to the related impacts of sea level rise for the purpose of prioritizing funding for infrastructure needs and adaption planning. In 2015, Florida enacted the “Peril of Flood” Statute, which requires consideration of future flood risk from storm surge and sea level rise in certain parts of local government comprehensive plans. These actions and the Initiative continue to play an integral role for coastal communities seeking guidance and resources to plan for current and future risks. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection also provides grant opportunities for communities adapting to sea level rise through the community planning process.


Wallace, K. (2018). Florida's Community Resiliency Initiative 2011-2017 [Case study on a project of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, NOAA, and Florida Division of Emergency Management]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: https://www.cakex.org/case-studies/floridas-community-resiliency-initiative-2011-2017 (Last updated November 2018)

Project Links

Project Leads

Whitney Gray, Florida Resilient Coastlines Program Administrator, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, [email protected]

Project Contact

Whitney Gray, Florida Resilient Coastlines Program Administrator, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, [email protected]



Project Contacts

Position: Program Manager - Resiliency

Affiliated Organizations

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the lead agency in state government for environmental management and stewardship and is one of the more diverse agencies in state government, protecting our air, water, and land. The Department is divided into three primary areas: Regulatory Programs, Land and Recreation and Planning and Management.

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