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SFWMD to Seek FEMA Accreditation of East Coast Protective Levee
Broward County > Permitting and Licensing > Licensing > Environmental Engineering & Licensing > Flood Zone Maps > SFWMD to Seek FEMA Accreditation of East Coast Protective Levee

As part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) project to modernize the nation’s flood zone maps, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is working to obtain FEMA accreditation of the Broward County portion of the East Coast Protective Levee (ECPL).

The ECPL separates western communities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties from the Everglades Water Conservation Areas. Flood zone maps are used to determine flood insurance purchase requirements and rates, and establish minimum floor elevations for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures. A levee that does not meet FEMA standards could result in an expansion of areas in Broward County considered susceptible to flooding.

The levee was originally constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the early 1950s. Ownership was transferred to the SFWMD, who has maintained the levee for the past 60 years. The levee is recognized on current FEMA flood zone maps as an accredited levee.

Levee map

Click here to enlarge image. (PDF - 125 KB)


Photo of a Broward County LeveeThe ECPL stretches for more than 100 miles from the Homestead area north to the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee. The Broward portion of the ECPL is 38.3 miles, and touches a small portion of unincorporated Broward County and portions of eight municipalities, including: Parkland, Coral Springs, Tamarac, Sunrise, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines and Miramar.

In order to complete the accreditation process, SFWMD engineers must provide FEMA with documentation that demonstrates compliance with FEMA standards regarding the condition of the levee. In the meantime, FEMA will grant a two-year provisional accreditation, provided that all communities located along the border of the Broward portion of the ECPL request it.

The provisional accreditation allows FEMA to continue to show the levees as providing protection on the new flood maps while conveying to users of the flood maps, which include insurance companies, developers and building contractors, that SFWMD is taking steps toward full accreditation.


During the provisional accreditation period, in additional to ongoing levee maintenance, SFWMD will be completing comprehensive maintenance and repair of the ECPL, to ensure that the levee is capable of protecting Broward County communities from a flood that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year, plus wind velocity from a category 1 hurricane. This comprehensive maintenance and repair program includes:

  • Increasing ground inspections of the levee
  • Installation of instrumentation along the levee to monitor water levels on a continuous basis
  • Stockpiling rock in upland areas in case levee conditions change
  • Installation of ring dikes as seepage control measures
  • Removal of vegetation for ease of inspection

FEMA Mapping, Accredited Levee

For additional information regarding the ECPL accreditation process, visit Frequently Asked Questions...

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