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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: Managed Retreat Due to Rising Seas is a Public Health Issue

Sea-level rise associated with climate change is a concern for many island and coastal communities. While the dangers may seem far off for large coastal cities like Miami or New Orleans, the advancing oceans are already displacing some small indigenous communities, and many others are at risk around the world.

Prior to catastrophic flooding expected during the next few decades, people living in these communities can begin an orderly process of managed retreat, or planned relocation, to higher ground either nearby or at a distance.

A University of Washington study published last month in the journal Climatic Change examined through the lens of public health how this process affects the people in question.

Managed retreat has disruptive health, sociocultural and economic impacts on the communities that relocate,” said lead author Dr. Andrew L. Dannenberg, an affiliate professor in the University of Washington School of Public Health (Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences) and in the College of Built Environments.

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