Credit: Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines.


Shorelines are changing due to storms, sea level rise, and subsidence. Some places will inevitably be under water.  Many communities are considering their options, including increasing protective measures and redesign, but few are able or willing to thoughtfully consider relocation.  It is difficult to ask, let alone answer questions like: "Who pays for people to move?" "How do we respect private property while serving the public good?" "What happens to the land if we leave?" "What happens to our tax base?" "How do we honor people's deep emotional ties to place?”  Relocation may not be the answer for every community, or may not be the answer now, but it takes strong leadership and good information to proactively take on these questions rather than wait for crisis to force the issue.


Asked by several communities to help engage as a non-partisan facilitator on the topic of managed retreat, CBI has built a network of funders, communities, organizations, and individuals interested in advancing dialogue in this topic.  CBI first kicked off a “retreat on retreat,” funded by CBI’s Board Designated Fund, to bring together more than 40 people from around the country to explore together stories, challenges, and needs on this topic.  CBI used professional actors, drawing, and storytelling to create an enriching and personal experience. Because the retreat was so motivating, CBI was asked by participants to serve as a hub of an emerging network of parties interested in retreat.  The organization hosts regional webinars with speakers on topics of interest and provides a newsfeed. CBI also created a website,, to serve as an innovation hub for communities, funding agencies, and others. On the site, interested parties can discuss challenges and share ideas and experiments, helping a wide range of stakeholders to fully consider managed retreat along with other adaptation options, such as rebuilding or redesigning in place. 


CBI now has more than 50 organizations engaged and involved in the climigration network.  The newsfeed, webinars, case studies, and website provide a resource for actors across the country to engage with CBI and each other as they explore managed retreat as a part of the story of adaptation and resilience.