Hold the High-Water Line: A Transnationally Informed Coastline Protection Scheme in the U.S.

By: Charlie Spencer-Davis


PDF: Hold the High-Water Line


Climate change and sea level rise degrade the environment, infrastructure, and private property along US coastlines. The magnitude of these harms will only accelerate unless the United States improves its coastal protection scheme. Informed by approaches in Israel, the United Kingdom, and China, this Note offers a dynamic solution to coastline protection by way of a federal Rolling Coastal Conservation Easements Act. The act would authorize states to develop and implement rolling easements on private coastal properties. This flexible scheme would include compensation for those landowners who grant easements to their localities, while giving private property owners the option to deny the government’s easement. This market-driven program gives states the notice, information, and transparency capacities to implement more meaningful and broad-reaching coastline protections by way of these rolling coastal conservation easements.