Urban Development and Salt Marshes

Perhaps the greatest threat to the health of the estuary is man. This panorama was taken on a New Bern waterfront that was once a majestic marsh complete with long reeds, fish, and snowy egrets. But those have long since gone away. You can see two drawbridges in this panorama nearly 100 years old and a towering freeway overpass that stands as a monument to the development of the area. Across from the highway is New Bern's oldest and most prestigious hotel. Tourism has changed the face of a once world class salt marsh 50 miles inland.

How does commercial and residential development affect the salt marshes of the estuary? Students can begin with a pictures of pristine salt marshes like those still found near the coast and are asked to predict the changes that would occur if a prospective developer is granted land for a resort. Remind students to remember the unseen effects on the water quality and marine life as well. For example, if boat marinas are constructed, what will happen with fuel that leaches into the marsh? Once students have made their predictions, it is easy to find advertisements for resort condos on the NC coast. Ask students to discuss the following issues with resorts planted in the middle of these delicate areas:

Finally, students debate laws associated with limiting development in world-class salt marches like those found in North Carolina.


If you are unable to view these Quicktime Virtual Reality panoramas, you may need to download the Quicktime Player from Apple at http://www.Apple.com/Quicktime. If you are in need of other assistance or have comments about any of these pages please contact Dr. Randy Yerrick at ryerrick@mail.sdsu.edu. Thanks in advance for your helpful feedback.