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Strategic Coastal Retreat

Developed shorelines in North Carolina and Florida (and elsewhere along the US Atlantic and Gulf coast) are threatened by rising seas, erosion and coastal storms. In almost every case, armoring and stabilization are chosen as solutions. These engineered alternatives, however, have unintended negative consequences ranging from the alteration of natural coastal processes to the inequitable distribution of benefits and costs.

The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines received a grant from the Educational Foundation of America in 2009 to study the feasibility of strategic coastal retreat as a state/local management alternative for sustaining local coastal economies while concomitantly preserving the long-term sustainability of natural coastal processes and systems upon which these economies are built.

Together with economists from Appalachian State University and experts at the Sea Turtle Conservancy, PSDS is evaluating the political, policy, economic, fiscal and environmental implications of proactively removing vulnerable, threatened and damaged/damaged coastal structures and infrastructure.

This site, which currently contains about 70 documents and studies related to coastal retreat, serves as a portal into this concept.

Feel free to browse through our growing library below to learn more about existing studies and efforts designed to responsibility manage our nation’s developed shorelines:

Strategic Retreat/Responsible Coastal Development Resources 

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines
Western Carolina University
294 Belk
Cullowhee,  NC 28723

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