As continuing floodplain development and climate change drives U.S. flood risk, retreat—removing development from and relocating people out of high flood-risk areas—is an increasingly necessary and widespread practice. Floodplain buyouts are the principal form of retreat practiced in the United States, with billions of dollars’ worth of properties purchased and reverted to undeveloped uses. While local, state, and federal government agencies have been involved in funding and implementing buyouts for about 40 years, relatively little systematic information is available that describes how these agencies design buyouts and how implementation practices impact buyout costs and outcomes. This gap in knowledge is relevant because local and state government agencies have significant latitude in choosing how they design and implement buyout projects, which leads to a diverse range of buyout program approaches.
This presentation will use the findings from two recent studies on floodplain buyout implementation practices to discuss opportunities to reduce costs, increase the speed with which buyouts are made available to prospective participants, and increase equity in floodplain buyouts.