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How to Manage Retreat in the Face of Sea-Level Rise and Nuisance Floods

"Strategic retreat" as a response to rising sea levels isn't an easy sell, but a new report endeavors to make the idea more palatable.
September 24, 2016, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Regional Plan Association make the case for managed retreat from flood zones with new research into the use of buyouts. The report, Buy-In for Buyouts: The Case for Managed Retreat from Flood Zones, focuses especially on building support for buyouts among local governments and community members

The fiscal impact of buyout programs is one of the biggest factors weighed by local governments in embracing or resisting buyout programs, according to the report. Incorporating financial considerations into the reuse of acquired properties and the relocation of residents is critical. For example, well designed parks can make nearby property more desirable, and open space projects can deliver water supply and flood prevention benefits, thereby increasing land values.

Though the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fund buy-out programs, such programs are usually managed and overseen locally, meaning they play out differently depending on the community. The post includes five recommendations for flood-prone communities, as described in the report.

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Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in Regional Plan Association
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