Fort Lauderdale, FL – Building upon its leadership in the area of sustainability, the City of Fort Lauderdale has become the first municipality in Florida to approve the use of Adaptation Action Areas to fight rising seas and coastal flooding. The new policy enables Fort Lauderdale to identify portions of the City that are vulnerable to flooding and prioritize those areas for adaptation measures and infrastructure improvements. Fort Lauderdale volunteered to serve as the project’s pilot community as part of an ongoing effort to protect quality of life by increasing the City’s resilience to the damaging effects of climate change. The City’s successful implementation of this game-changing initiative will now serve as a model for other communities throughout Florida and around the country.
Fort Lauderdale’s seven miles of shoreline and 165 miles of inland waterways, coupled with its flat topography and dense development make it susceptible toerosion, coastal flooding, storm surge, and high tides. A recent neighbor survey and communitywide visioning initiative revealed that residents are experiencing more frequent flooding in their neighborhoods, and have a greater sense of urgency to address the growing hazard. The neighbor directive prompted the City to revolutionize its operations by adopting a strategic approach that proactively considers changing climate conditions when planning for the future.
“This is a tremendous milestone for our community. We are bringing our citywide Vision to life by creating the tools we need to reduce our risk to the damaging effects of climate change. I am proud that Fort Lauderdale was able to successfully serve as a pilot community for the Adaptation Action Areas program, and I look forward to working with our regional partners to implement similar programs to address this significant environmental challenge,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “Continuing to utilize a collaborative and comprehensive approach will enable us to work together today to meet the changing climate conditions of tomorrow and, by doing so, strengthen our resilience and protect our long-term livability, sustainability and prosperity.”
Developed in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Broward County and the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Adaptation Action Area initiative will serve as a program that can be replicated in other communities looking to defend against coastal hazards and related impacts of sea level rise. Approved by the City Commission and the state, the Adaptation Action Area policies were formally adopted into Fort Lauderdale’s Comprehensive Plan in January 2015.
In addition to safeguarding public infrastructure, the Adaptation Action Areas are also intended to protect neighbors, resources, services, private property, and the environment from the threat of natural hazards, particularly in the coastal high-hazard areas. The policies outlined in the Comprehensive Plan address the identification of vulnerable infrastructure, development of adaptation strategies, criteria for area designation, funding options, and alignment with existing local and regional plans.
Through Adaptation Action Areas, the reconstruction of A1A, the establishment of a Sustainability Division, the active participation in the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, global partnerships, and numerous ongoing initiatives, the City of Fort Lauderdale is leading cooperative efforts to pursue comprehensive action that protects the region’s economy and quality of life. Going forward, Fort Lauderdale will continue to actively pursue effective solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change.
For more information about Fort Lauderdale’s proactive sustainable initiatives and partnerships to create a stronger and more resilient community, visit the City website at www.fortlauderdale.gov.