Sustainability science is a growing field that encompasses the study of the environment, the economy, and social equity. However, with the ever-growing literature base surrounding sustainability, defining the issue has continued to be elusive, especially concerning social sustainability, or equity concerns. In addition, complications to sustainability, such as sea level rise, have not been well understood within the discipline. The purpose of this dissertation is to add to the base of sustainability knowledge, specifically looking at how one coastal county understands sustainability, with an emphasis on social sustainability, in relation to sea level rise. Utilizing Wicomico County, Maryland, as a case study, this dissertation will explore comprehensive planning documents for sustainability content, a self-administered and unsolicited attitude survey for Wicomico County, and a vulnerability analysis of Wicomico County to determine the status for sustainability and sea level rise planning for the coastal county. The results show that the inclusion of sustainability into the local knowledge base is growing in recent years, while no link between sustainability and sea level rise has been established. The most recent comprehensive planning documents show a higher inclusion rate for sustainability and sea level rise issues, although the inclusion rate for sea level rise issues remains low. This is supported by survey responses stating that sustainability is a priority, though sea level rise issues are not. There are the potentially significant impacts from sea level rise on the environment, economy, and social equity. This research also highlights equity issues ranging from a high survey response rate for older white residents and low response rates for other races, while also highlighting potential equity issues with those areas possibly affected by sea level rise. Implications of the results are discussed.