Leaning Into Taking a Step Back: Shoreline Retreat in California with Charles Lester and Gary Griggs

October 16, 2022

Understanding the nuance of Managed Retreat

On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham welcome Dr. Charles Lester and Dr. Gary Griggs to the show to discuss one of the most contentious issues on the American Shoreline: coastal retreat. Charles and Gary were joined by Dr. Kiki Patsch and Dr. Ryan Anderson in the development of a new paper that seeks to provide texture to the complicated story of retreat along the California coast by compiling a range of cases in which development or development potential has been moved back from the shoreline. The cases stand in contrast to the overly simplified debate about managed retreat and show that retreat has been happening on California’s coast for decades. We talking about the complexity and multiple dimensions of shoreline adaptation over long periods and concludes with some observations in hopes of shedding light on and opening more reasonable discussion of pathways to shoreline retreat and resilient communities.

Show Transcription
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Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.