Coast Leaders Talk Graceful Withdrawal

by | May 17, 2022

Photo: Ariel Okamoto

Cardiff Dunes living shoreline near San Diego. Photo: CA State Parks.

What’s the latest thinking, from the state coastal management perspective, on how California can best adapt to climate change and sea level rise? As the coast erodes more rapidly in the future, managed retreat, buyouts, leasebacks, and nature-based adaptation are all on the table.  Public buyouts of private property in harm’s way are one option already well developed in other states, but less evolved in California. KneeDeep asked two California leaders for their perspective on planned withdrawal: Amy Hutzel of the California Coastal Conservancy, and Mary Matella of the California Coastal Commission. Their comments also offer a West Coast counterpoint to reporter Lila Burke’s story on New Jersey’s Blue Acres buyout program, also in KneeDeep (see MORE).

Surfers Point managed retreat project informational sign.

Up to 67% of southern California beaches could be lost to sea level rise over the next century unless people take action. For example, Ventura County’s Surfer’s Point project provides a combination of managed retreat and nature-based adaptation strategies to protect public access development threatened by coastal erosion. Photo: Mary Matella.

Production Credits

Editor: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

Hutzel was interviewed by reporter Lilah Burke. 

Matella was interviewed by reporter Sierra Garcia. 

Final audio production by Callie Rhoades. 

Music: Peter Rubissow