July 2020, Georgetown Climate Center
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) this week released 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.
On July 15, 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. (Watch the recorded webinar here.)
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 this week’s launch event. For questions, contact GCC Senior Associate and toolkit lead author Katie Spidalieri, Katie.Spidalieri@georgetown.edu.
Register Now: GCC’s Equitable Adaptation
Legal & Policy Toolkit launches July 29
Please join the Georgetown Climate Center on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, for a webinar launching GCC’s new Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit, an online resource for community-based organizations and state and local governments working to put frontline communities first.
The GCC team will provide an overview of the toolkit’s contents and how it was developed. The webinar will also feature speakers Jalonne White-Newsome (Kresge Foundation), Mayra Cruz (Catalyst Miami), and Melissa Deas (D.C. Dept. of Energy & Environment).
The Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit explores best emerging practices, legal and policy tools, and case studies to help state and local governments work with frontline communities to develop and implement equitable climate adaptation solutions.
The toolkit was co-created by GCC staff and a panel of advisors, and informed by the insights and expertise of a network of local, state, and federal adaptation practitioners; community-based organization leaders; and other partners. Learn more about the Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit.