GCC launches Managed Retreat Toolkit

July 15, 2020


Explore the Managed Retreat Toolkit
Watch the July 29 launch webinar recording
View the launch presentation slides

Communities across the U.S. are facing urgent challenges from sea-level rise and climate impacts; a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documented the increasing frequency of "sunny-day" flooding in coastal areas, and recent analysis by the First Street Foundation suggests that millions more U.S. homes are at risk of catastrophic flooding than previously estimated. Communities and states are increasingly considering managed retreat – the voluntary movement of communities and transition of ecosystems away from vulnerable coastal areas – as a strategy for protecting people, infrastructure, buildings, and coastal ecosystems from the impacts of climate change. 

To help state and local policymakers who are considering managed retreat, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) developed the Managed Retreat Toolkit. The first comprehensive online legal and policy resource on managed retreat, the toolkit combines legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies to support peer learning, public engagement, and decisionmaking around managed retreat and climate adaptation.

<img src="/files/MRT/MRT_vid_SCREENSHOT.png" alt="A screenshot of a webinar. On the left, there are three squares showing video of the presenters. From top to bottom: Liz Williams Russell (Foundation for Louisiana), Fawn McGee (New Jersey Blue Acres Program), and Katie Spidalieri (GCC). On the right is a powerpoint slide with a light blue background and a green and blue gradient border. The title of the slide reads &quot;Case Study: LA SAFE.&quot; The subtitle reads: &quot;Louisiana's Strategic Adaptation for Future Environments.&quot; There is a head shot of Liz Williams Russell and pictures of people examining charts and talking around tables at public outreach events." style="margin: 5px; float: right;" width="325" height="170" />On July 15, 2020, GCC hosted a launch webinar that drew more than 450 attendees. Featured speakers included Fawn McGee of the New Jersey Blue Acres Program and Liz Williams Russell of the Foundation for Louisiana, who discussed their experiences working with communities to implement retreat strategies. The Blue Acres Program and LA SAFE, which the Foundation for Louisiana helps implement, are both featured in case studies in the Managed Retreat Toolkit.

The toolkit features more than 70 case studies from communities across the US that have begun engaging with managed retreat strategies. GCC also released Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas, a companion publication that presents 17 case studies in greater depth.

GCC developed the Managed Retreat Toolkit in concert with leading state, local, and federal policymakers, academic leaders, and people from affected communities. Between 2018 and 2020, GCC’s outreach efforts related to the development of the Managed Retreat Toolkit have engaged more than 1,000 people at more than 20 events, a testament to the growing interest in this important topic.

GCC would like to thank the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and the other generous funders who support GCC's work for making this project possible, and DDCF's Sacha Spector for participating in the launch event. For questions, contact GCC Senior Associate and toolkit lead author Katie Spidalieri, Katie.Spidalieri@georgetown.edu.

Explore the Managed Retreat Toolkit.