Managed Retreat Toolkit

Authors and Acknowledgements

Authors and Project Management and Oversight

This toolkit was written by lead author Katie Spidalieri, Senior Associate, and co-author Annie Bennett, Senior Associate, Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University Law Center. Between 2018 and 2020, Katie Spidalieri also served as the project manager facilitating the development of multiple elements of the Managed Retreat Toolkit, including: legal and policy research and writing; partner outreach and engagement through one-on-one interviews and group workshops; and external review processes.  

Additional written contributions and editorial and project oversight were provided by Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center and Professor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center; Lisa Anne Hamilton, Adaptation Program Director, Georgetown Climate Center; and Jessica Grannis, formerly Adaptation Program Director, Georgetown Climate Center, now Coastal Resilience Director at National Audubon Society and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center. Additional writing and research support were provided by Tiffany Ganthier, Institute Associate, and Katherine McCormick, Institute Associate, Georgetown Climate Center; and Jennifer Li, Staff Attorney, Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University Law Center. 

Significant research and writing contributions for the case studies and Adaptation Clearinghouse entries included in the toolkit were provided by law students Isabelle Smith (LL.M.), Ju-Ching Huang (S.J.D. candidate), and Blake Hyde (J.D. candidate), Research Assistants, Georgetown Climate Center.



The authors would like to thank the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its generous support and guidance, and without whom the Managed Retreat Toolkit would not have been possible. 

We are also grateful for additional support from the Georgetown Environment Initiative that enabled us to bring together diverse, interdisciplinary stakeholder expertise and Georgetown University faculty to inform the development of the Managed Retreat Toolkit, including Professors Uwe Brandes, J. Peter Byrne, Beth Ferris, and Sheila Foster and participants at our March 2019 Roundtable on Managed Retreat in Washington, D.C. In addition, Professors Uwe Brandes and J. Peter Byrne contributed their invaluable expertise in constitutional, property, land-use and zoning law and urban planning to help us edit and review multiple sections of the toolkit. 

We also appreciate the diligent work of the following individuals who helped us finalize and publish the toolkit: Peter Rafle, Communications Director, Caren Fitzgerald, Communications Associate, and Kelly Cruce, Consultant, Georgetown Climate Center; and Brent Futrell, Director of Design, Office of Communications at Georgetown University Law Center.

We would also like to specially thank and acknowledge the following individuals for taking the time to speak with us, attend our various workshops held across the country, review drafts, and provide insights that were invaluable in helping to inform the development of the Managed Retreat Toolkit and case studies for the Adaptation Clearinghouse: John Ryan-Henry and Bradley Watson, Coastal States Organization; Erik Meyers, The Conservation Fund; Matt Whitbeck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Justine Nihipali, Hawaii Office of Planning Coastal Zone Management Program; Mitchell Austin, City of Punta Gorda, Florida; Kelsey Moldenke, Quinault Indian Nation; Charles Warsinske, Quinault Indian Nation; Deborah Helaine Morris, formerly New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York; Lauren E. Wang, New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, New York; Matthew D. Viggiano, formerly New York City Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, New York; Andrew Meyer, San Diego Audubon, California; Tim Trautman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, North Carolina; Pam Kearfott, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, Texas; James Wade, Harris County Flood Control District, Texas; Fawn McGee, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Frances Ianacone, formerly New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Thomas Snow, Jr., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Dave Tobias, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York; Stacy Curry, Office of Emergency Management, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey; Sandy Urgo, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey; Joel Gerwein, California State Coastal Conservancy; Jay Diener, Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance, Hampton, New Hampshire; Kirsten Howard, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program; Mathew Sanders, Louisiana Office of Community Development; Liz Williams Russell, Foundation for Louisiana; Joseph (Joe) Tirone, Jr., Oakwood Beach Buyout Committee, Staten Island, New York City, New York; Megan Webb, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Washington State; Carri Hulet, Consensus Building Institute; Kristin Marcell, formerly New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Thomas Ruppert, Florida Sea Grant; Jason Jurjevich, Portland State University, Oregon; M. Brandon Love, City of Lumberton, North Carolina; Jason Hellendrung, Tetra Tech; Marcos Marrero, Planning and Economic Development, City of Holyoke, Massachusetts; Andrew Smith, formerly Conservation and Sustainability, City of Holyoke, Massachusetts; Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Department of Political Science and El Instituto, University of Connecticut; Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, The City University of New York; Gavin Smith, Department of Landscape Architecture, North Carolina State University College of Design; Michael J. Paolisso, Christy Miller Hesed, and Elizabeth Van Dolah, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland; Annie Vest, Meshek & Associates, LLC; Katherine Stein, Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, Town of Surfside, Florida; Shelby Clark, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Christine A. Goebel, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality; Robert W. Scarborough, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Coastal Program; James Pappas, Delaware Department of Transportation; David J. L. Blatt and David Kozak, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Michael Ng, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Emily A. Vainieri, Maryland Office of the Attorney General; Barbara Neale, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control; Kelly Leo and Jackie Specht, The Nature Conservancy Maryland–Washington, D.C.; and various staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California Coastal Commission, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Commission.  

No statements or opinions contained within this toolkit or affiliated case studies or entries in Georgetown Climate Center’s Adaptation Clearinghouse should be attributed to any individual or organization included in the above Acknowledgements.  

For comments or questions about the Managed Retreat Toolkit please, contact Katie Spidalieri at or

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