Spring 2020

Managed Retreat



For the spring 2020 semester, our POSC 395 Policy Research Internship students researched how to enact and confront managed retreat with sea levels posing fatal and economic risks to coastline properties and infrastructures. Managed retreat is the purposeful, coordinated movement of people and assets out of harm’s way. They presented their extensive research and policy suggestions to our partner, Nature Conservancy.

Amaya Simpson, a sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies, said this about her research experience, “This internship provided important insight and the ability to connect legal and policy perspectives to attributes of environmental concerns. The academic tools that the internship provided will be essential in the near future with the impending climate change and the effects it will have on various communities and societies of the world, regardless of socioeconomic status.”

Project: Approaching Managed Retreat in Long Beach, CA: Communication and Policy Strategies

USC Students: Amaya Simpson, Madison Bradfield-Davis, Catherine Baklarz, John Huskins, and Matthew Chu

Research Question: With sea levels posing fatal and economic risks to coastline properties and infrastructures, what are the best communication and policy recommendations to enact and confront managed retreat, while recognizing current federal and state regulations, structures, and grant programs?

Communication Recommendations:

  • Aquarium of the Pacific (1-stop shop)
  • Infographics
  • Support Groups
  • Government-Community Partnerships
  • Long Beach Sea Level Rise Survey
  • Resilience Officers

Policy Recommendations:

  • Long Beach: 1) More Funding for Aquarium, 2) Environmental Section in the Budget, and 3) Increase Budget with Environmental Initiatives
  • California: 1) Property Tax Exemption and 2) Buyouts (change land to parks)
  • Federal: Tax Incentives
  • TNC: 1) Buyouts, 2) Lobbying for FEMA to reduce Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and 3) Communicating Pre-disaster Mitigation Grant Program

Read the group’s full research presentation on Managed Retreat.

Watch their video presentation.