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California City Bans the Words 'Managed Retreat' While Wrestling With Sea-Level Rise

Politicians in California are trying to plan for a rising sea, but some have stopped using the phrase “managed retreat” because they feel it derails the process.
July 25, 2019, 9am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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David M. Schrader

As costal cities in California try to prepare for continued sea rise, conversations can become contentious. Imperial Beach Councilmember Ed Spriggs says the city will longer use the phrase "managed retreat," and is exploring other climate change mitigation strategies. "Managed retreat has been politicized in almost every community where it's gone into early drafts of the local coastal plan, Spriggs said. That hampers planning, with the focus turning to the taking of private property, and eminent domain," writes Sheila Pell.

Moving houses as the sea encroaches on previously inhabited land is not the only solution for sea rise. "From Imperial Beach to Crescent City, the diversity among coastal cities requires local solutions. Some have land lift; others face flooding. Some are rich, others poor," Pell writes. Still, if houses do need to be moved or seized, there will be resistance from the public, whatever local agencies call their efforts.

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Published on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in San Diego Reader
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