Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Managed Retreat

  • William J. NealEmail author
  • David M. Bush
  • Orrin H. Pilkey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_201


In the coastal zone, managed retreatis the application of coastal zone management and mitigation tools designed to move existing and planned development out of the path of both short- and long-term coastal hazards (e.g., hurricanes/typhoons, nor’easters, tsunamis, El Niños, king tides, erosion, flooding, storm surges, sea-level rise). This management strategy is based on a philosophy of avoiding or moving out of harm’s way and is proactive in recognizing that the coastal zone dynamics should dictate the type of management employed.


Hino et al. (2017) note two defining features of managed retreat: deliberate intervention to manage hazard risk and abandonment of land or relocation of assets. Identifying and mapping the impact zones of coastal hazards is the basis for establishing regulations that govern moving property and people away from migrating and/or storm-impacted shorelines. The mirror of this goal to protect property is that the shoreline is allowed to...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Armstrong SB, Lazarus ED, Limber PW, Goldstein EB, Thorpe C, Ballinger RC (2016) Indications of a positive feedback between coastal development and beach nourishment. Earth’s Future 4:626–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beachapedia (2017) Managed retreat. http://www.beachapedia.org/Managed_Retreat. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
  3. Correa ID, Goznalez J (2000) Coastal erosion and village relocation: a Colombian case study. Ocean Coast Manag 43:51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dyckman CS, St. John C, London JB (2014) Realizing managed retreat and innovation in state-level coastal management planning. Ocean Coast Manag 102:212–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Esteves LS (2014) Managed realignment: a viable long-term coastal management strategy? Springer, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gibbs MT (2016) Why is coastal retreat so hard to implement? Understanding the political risk of coastal adaptation pathways. Ocean Coast Manag 130:107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment (2000) The hidden costs of coastal hazards; implications for risk assessment and mitigation. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Hino M, Field CB, Mach KJ (2017) Managed retreat as a response to natural hazard risk. Nat Clim Chang 7.  https://doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE3252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Howard JD, Kaufman W, Pilkey OH (1985) National strategy for beach preservation, Second Skidaway Institute of Oceanography Conference on America’s Eroding Shoreline, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, SavannahGoogle Scholar
  10. Iverson J (2013) Funding Alaska village relocation caused by climate change and preserving cultural values during relocation. Seattle J Social Justice 12:561–602. http://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1701&context=sjsj. Accessed 17 Apr 2017Google Scholar
  11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2012) Protecting the public interest through the National Coastal Zone Management Program: how coastal states and territories use no-build areas along ocean and great lake shorefronts. National Oceanic Service, Silver Spring. https://coast.noaa.gov/czm/media/nobuildareas.pdf. Accessed 17 Apr 2017Google Scholar
  12. Pilkey OH, Pilkey-Jarvis L, Pilkey KC (2016) Retreat from a rising sea. Columbia University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) (2017) Beach nourishment viewer. http://beachnourishment.wcu.edu/. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
  14. Rabenold C (2013) Coastal zone management: using no-build areas to protect the shorefront. Coast Manag 41:294–311.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2013.784892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Siders A (2013) Managed coastal retreat: a legal handbook on shifting development away from vulnerable areas. Columbia Law School, Center for Climate Change Law, Cambridge, MA. https://web.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/climate-change/files/Publications/Fellows/ManagedCoastalRetreat_FINAL_Oct%2030.pdf. Accessed 17 Apr 2017Google Scholar
  16. Thomas AR (2015) Resettlement in the wake of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: a strategy to mitigate risk or a risky strategy? Brookings Institution, Washington, DC. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Brookings-Planned-Relocations-Case-StudyAlice-Thomas-Philippines-case-study-June-2015.pdf. Accessed 17 Apr 2017Google Scholar
  17. Titus JG (2011) Rolling easements. U.S.E.P.A, Washington, DC. http://papers.risingsea.net/rolling-easements.html. Accessed 14 Apr 2017
  18. Wikipedia (2017) Managed retreat. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_retreat. Accessed 14 Apr 2017
  19. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) (2001) Evaluation of coastal erosion hazards: results from a national study and a Massachusetts perspective. Focal Points, WHOI Sea Grant, Woods Hole. http://web.whoi.edu/seagrant/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2015/01/WHOI-G-01-003-Sea-Grant-Evaluation-of-Coas.pdf. Accessed 17 Apr 2017

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Neal
    • 1
    Email author
  • David M. Bush
    • 2
  • Orrin H. Pilkey
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeologyGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesState University of West GeorgiaCarrolltonUSA
  3. 3.Nicholas School of the Environment, Earth and Ocean Sciences DivisionDuke UniversityDurhamUSA