- Causes of Future Sea Level Rise
- Elevation Maps
- Will we really lose all that land?
- Sea Level Rise Planning Maps
Most public policy goals can be accomplished through regulation or contract. When land is involved, altering the land title is usually the most effective way to make a contract. Hence, the objective of ensuring that shores migrate inland can be accomplished through either regulation or a property right recorded as an interest in land.
A rolling easement can be either (a) a government regulation that prohibits shore protection or (b) a property right to ensure that wetlands, beaches, barrier islands, or access along the shore moves inland with the natural retreat of the shore. A rolling easement regulation restricts what landowners are allowed to do, while a property right can either restrict a landowner’s activities or authorize someone else to use the property for a particular purpose. A regulation that prohibits shore protection would enable wetlands and beaches to migrate inland; because the public trust boundary generally follows the shore, public access derived from the public trust doctrine would migrate inland as well. Conversely, the right to ensure that wetlands, beaches, or access along the shore can migrate inland inherently includes the legal power to prevent shore protection structures, which would otherwise stop that migration.
examine various ways to create a rolling easement as a regulation (Section 3.1)
or a recorded interest in land (Section 3.2). We then examine combinations of
rolling easements (Section 3.3) and combinations of rolling easements with other
land use policies that also encourage a retreat (Section 3.4).
 Unilateral voluntary measures motivated by altruism, environmental ethics, religion, or the desire to be a good citizen are important, but they are outside the scope of this handbook.
This page contains a section from: James G. Titus, Rolling Easements, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA‑430‑R‑11‑001 (2011). The report was originally published by EPA's Climate Ready Estuary Program in June 2011. The full report (PDF, 176 pp., 7 MB) is also available from the EPA web site.
For additional reports focused on the implications of rising sea level, go to Sea Level Rise Reports.